Stories & Memories of Rabbi Yudi Dukes

By: Altie Seigel January 31

What a beautiful smile and a beautiful person

I encountered Yudi once, when he read Magilla in a shul in Crown Heights. I thought he was a classmate from Toronto's brother but later realized the name is spelled differently.

He came into shul wearing a backpack and I remember thinking, he seemed so jovial, with a literal spring in his step and smile on his face. Such a nice feeling.

Watching the video you shared, I feel his happiness and fullness of life coming from the video. From everything you've shared and I've heard about him recently, including the videos he shared from his hospital room, he was really a guy everyone wanted to know and would be honored to call a friend.

I saw your posts of your son's bar mitzvah and see such a beautiful family. I'm sure you've had struggles but it just seems so harmonious, between your music and your beautiful kids. I've followed your updates from the beginning of this journey and thought it's so comforting for everyone who is following to know what is going on.

Every update you shared made me feel like I was a part of the recovery, like you were not just asking for help and prayers, but bringing everyone along with you as if we were family. I think that's why so many people felt invested right alongside you and now feel like they've also lost someone close.

I'm sorry for your kids, I lost my mother recently as an adult but there's nothing that compares to a child losing a parent. I saw you said not to lump all your kids together and I'm sure each child grieves differently, but I hope the stories they'll hear will bring them comfort.

I don't know what to say except you really are very special and you managed to make a horrible situation into something much more elevated and holy.

I can feel Yudi's spirit and his calming and joyful presence. I know he'll be with you forever.

You fostered hope and positivity in so many, and that will never disappear.

המקום ינחם אתכם בתוך שאר אבלי ציון וירושלים

May G-d and Yudi send you comfort in your darkest hours and give you the strength to comfort your own children. Thank you for sharing your family with us.

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