I met Jake last October, and like other people I have had the good fortune to profile, I was allowed to peer into the window of his life for a few hours: to learn about who and what he loved, his fondest memories and some of his personal challenges. In the few months since that time, I came to know some of his family and also visited him in the hospital shortly after a surgery. He was still full of life, even in recovery. He excitedly interrupted himself tell me a joke in fact.
Today, after writing his obituary for the JT, I attended his funeral. There were people of all ages there to pay tribute to an exceptional life well lived, and words were shared about him that were full of love and even laughter.
When I met him last year he shared all sorts of stories and quips during our interview; one has really stuck with me. It was his answer to this question: What is your secret to longevity?
“I tell people, please don’t be negative; be positive,” said Jake. “That’s how you have longevity. It takes people. They say in Jewish nor a steyn zol zayn aleyn — only a stone should be alone, not people. Be with people.”
And today, at his final tribute surrounded by loving family and friends, he was definitely not alone.