We often think that the blessings of the current and future generations are greatly attributed to the good deeds, efforts and love of those who cared and came before us, like our fruit man war hero. He filled our minds and hearts with strength, love and courage, and our stomachs with the sustenance and power of fresh fruits and vegetables all his life. His actions and deeds instilled us with conviction and power to make a difference, and his bountiful provision of the sweetest smelling and tasting, the most delicious fruits and vegetables gave us the energy and fortitude to walk our own paths in support of our efforts and all who join us on the journey.
His story is innately part of ours, and like many of yours. The journey of his life is of a man who survived a tragic time in history, a man who fought for his country, who saved countless lives in his heroic actions and lost many that were dear to him, a man who truly loved his family and worked for their well being all of his life. One of eleven brothers and sisters, whose travels, tribulations, valor, strength and courage led his journey to America during a tumultuous time in the history of the great depression and the evils of WWII, when many like he, were tasked with the burden of standing up for, fighting and defending, life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and inalienable rights for all. His stature wasn’t great, not in size or in class, but his will and strength were mighty, and he lived every day seeking to make it a little better, a little brighter and a little happier for all who crossed his path. During our childhood we often pressed him to share his accounts of his childhood, his escape from fascism in Europe, his immigration to the US, his combat in World War II, and his life in Brooklyn as a fruit man upon his return. One common thread in all these stages of his life was evident in the reflection of the eyes of all who knew him when you mentioned his name, it was the genuine love you saw in those eyes looking back at you, the reflection of comfort and joy in hearing the name of a friend and ally that they had in Hesh.
Hesh’s care and concern for all, even when he himself may have been struggling with pain, fear or failure, was innately part of who he was, and who we have each become. It wasn’t a conscious decision on his part to wake up in the morning and plan on doing a good deed for the day – it was just who he was. It was simply because he was a good man who cared about his family, who cared about his friends, who cared about his community, and who understood that we are all connected. He understood that belief in oneself and support by others is necessary to bring to fruition your dreams and life’s purpose. He understood that nothing in this world was ever created or attained without the help of many, some of whom have starring roles and other supporting roles, but it always takes a group effort to accomplish. There are many moments in his life where he was confronted by someone asking a very similar question about his good deeds, some of which were extraordinary – why are you putting your life on the line to dig that protective trench for an army major who was a bit older and slower? Why are you going back to the front line so soon when you just had a bullet removed from your leg? Why are you giving money to the neighborhood guys struggling during the winter when you yourself did not have luxury? Why are you renting rooms to tenants that others surely turned down? Why at 17 years old did you put your own life at risk to save a drowning girl in the river? Why were you so moved at the age of 20 to raise funds to secure a Visa for one of the town’s village elders who was facing deportation? Why were you helping so many that came to you with burdensome problems, sometimes economical, sometimes family and emotional ones? We learned that the answer was quite simple and the same for all these questions, you do because you can, you help because you should, you work hard to leave this world a little better than you found it.
We offer you Hesh’s – celebrating the fruits of life, labor, love and family.