John Kliger . . . made people smile

John Kliger passed away on March 13. He made aliyah to Raanana with his family in 1984 from England and amongst his volunteering jobs, he also regularly delivered ESRAMagazines.

The following was written by his wife, Sandy: 

John and I started our joint life here in Israel in 1965. The first time I saw him, he was helping someone carry suitcases down the stairs in Beit Brodetzky.

It became common knowledge to everyone that if they needed something, they could just ask John and he would willingly help. For my part, I would just have to say “I think we need this” or “I think we need to buy that” and it would be there.  Nothing was too much for him, especially concerning our children;’ he was always there for all of us.

John had the ability to make everyone smile, be it the street worker, the petrol station attendant, or the Arab gardener.

He was a great carpenter and handyman who could turn his hand to any job. Nothing fazed him. He was always willing to try.

After our aliyah, when times were financially hard, he would return home from his programming job every evening and then go out to do odd jobs for people. Once he built a pergola on the seventh floor of a building and only afterwards, told me that he had tied himself to the building so as not to fall. It can still be seen on Schwartz Street.

Upon his retirement, the kids were concerned that he'd be bored but no, again, he only wanted to help others and turned to volunteering for Table-To-Table, which later became LEKET. When he was ill, I would ask him to stay at home as this was not a job, but he felt as completely committed as if it were paid work and would never call in sick. LEKET became his family and he was given an award for his devotion to the cause.

When he tripped and fell two years ago and they discovered his disease, he had to give up this work, but he was never disheartened, depressed, or complaining. He only wanted to be active and help others, and was very frustrated by the situation. I would try to restrain him, not because I didn't want him to help others, but because it was often not beneficial for him to do certain things.

Even in the last week when he was so ill, he crawled out of the hospital bed one night to assist a lady in the next room, who was crying for help and had been caught in the bed.

Our wonderful children and grandchildren were a great source of joy to us. He was fortunate in the last few years to attend three barmitzvahs, the wedding of our daughter Rachelle and of course the birth of our grandson Ivri, who was such a tonic this last year to us all. 

John was color blind. He could see red, blue, yellow, and orange, but not green, brown, pink, or purple. On his 60th birthday I offered to buy expensive lenses that would enable him to see these colors but he refused, saying: "I've managed up until now; I don't think I need them.”  My way of rebellion to this statement was to make most of the house green - the sofas, the chairs, the countertops in the kitchen and the tiles in the bathroom.

I'm thankful that I was lucky enough to have such a wonderful husband and that we were able to spend most of our lives in Israel.

What a Guy-our friend John

JOHN KLIGER has left us and created a big empty space in our lives, a space filled with cheer and fun, kindness and helpfulness. He had so many skills but was unpretentious and always ready to lend a helping hand and/or tell an appropriate (or inappropriate) joke. Alice and I will miss his greetings at our frequently-shared Shabbat meals with him and his beloved wife Sandy. While dining, he always encouraged us to drink a bit more liquor or beer, and gave us the lowdown on how to handle and drink wine, based upon his experience as a youth working in vineyards and wineries in France. He would sometimes pooh-pooh our highfalutin ideas and set us thinking again. John always had interesting stories to tell, such as how he worked on the construction of the London underground, or witnessed the filming of pogrom scenes from  Ellis Island  in a London park, or gave his old car to his shul’s Hevra Kadisha upon making aliyah. He was also the go-to man for valuable advice on our plumbing or carpentry or other household repairs. What a guy! We will never forget this loveable, optimistic, wonderful man and the place he occupied in our lives in Israel for so many years. We believe that as he brightened lives in this world, he will continue to do so in the world to come.

May his memory be for a blessing.

May his soul be bound up in the bond of eternal life.

Alice and Mike Aronson


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ESRAmagazine documents and illustrates the life of the English-speaking community in Israel. It keeps readers in touch with the community, with each other, and involves them in life in Israel. Cont...

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