Sep 8, 2020
Remembering the Rabbi

With overpowering sadness and a touch of pride, we learned of the passing of our dear friend Rabbi Joseph Hurwitz on September 4, 2020.

The sadness is inescapable. It sneaks up and pounces – lion-fashion – and will not let go. Rabbi radiated love for all around him and absorbed their love in return. He led a full life. He gave unremittingly to the causes he held dear – and lions led the list. He had a bad word for no person, greeted each day with a smile, and lived to see his dreams fulfilled. The sadness will camp inside us forever, because of who he was.

But sadness is not the measure of this man’s legacy. At the Mountain Lion Foundation we are proud to celebrate Rabbi’s life as one that leaves the world a better place. He loved America’s big, burly, stealthy, tawny wild cats whose steely gaze saw through his soul to Nature’s eternity. He had a vision of a world that was ready to make peace with lions, and he shared his vision with all who would listen. There were many who listened. We are proud to have been part of what that vision became.

In a fitting footnote to Rabbi’s life, mere hours before his passing he joyfully learned that the California legislature had voted to ban certain chemical rat poisons in part because of secondary lion deaths. We could not ask for a better tribute.

Some people go through life with a “twinkle in their eye,” or so they say. How inadequate is that moniker for Rabbi Joseph Hurwitz? His entire being was a twinkle. He delivered a dollop of mirth to every moment of board discourse, every motion, amendment, or vote. And yet, his levity was merely an on-ramp for positive action. No matter how bleak the circumstances, he found a solution, prefaced by his signature sideways droll banter and punctuated by his definitive vote, “Aye.” For the lions, Friend. We will miss you.

Toby Cooper
For the Board and Staff of the Mountain Lion Foundation

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