Tuesday, March 27, 2007

In Memoriam


March 27, 2007

For all of those who know and love David Honigsberg -- rabbi, writer, musician, songwriter, fabulous friend, good poker buddy -- it was a blow today to learn of his death.

This blog has been started to encourage friends and family to post comments, prayers and good wishes for his wife and also to provide a central place for those wanting to help. The funeral costs are both high and unexpected and friends are taking up a collection to defray the burden on the family. Anyone wishing to donate can send a check to Peter Liverakos, 63 Laurel Ave., Roseland, NJ 07068 or go to PayPal and send money to account varkat @attglobal.net. Thank you all for your support and the wonderful comments so far.

72 comments:

ladyhawk said...

He was a sweet, sassy, good man. Now there is more rock&roll in eternity. We will miss him so much.

ladyhawk said...

Should checks be made out to Peter???

Michael said...

Reposted from http://mabfan.livejournal.com/311499.html :

Eulogy: David Honigsberg, 48

Although I still want to write about the things that have kept me busy over the past few weeks, I find that I'm drawn to reminiscing about David Honigsberg. David wasn't a close friend, but he was a good friend, if you understand the distinction. I met David through science fiction circles, in those places where fandom and writers intersect. Nomi and I used to see him and his wife Alexandra at conventions or at lunches on our all-too-infrequent trips to New York. We heard him sing as part of the Don't Quit Your Day Job Players and we bought one of their CDs. We made sure to send him a birthday card every year.

Among his other accomplishments, David was a rabbi. Although he wasn't my rabbi – meaning he wasn't the rabbi I would go to for a ruling on halakha (Jewish law) – he was a rabbi whose intelligence and education I respected. A few years ago, I found myself interested in learning more about kabbalah, or Jewish mysticism. I knew that David had immersed himself in the study of kabbalah; he had even written a game supplement for Ars Magica called Kabbalah: Mythic Judaism, and I believe somewhere I have an autographed copy. So when I wanted to learn more, I asked him if I could study under him over the Internet. David agreed, and for a semester I learned kabbalah from him. I still have all the lecture notes and lessons he sent me as part of the course, and I recall that he had hoped to turn it into a book one day.

David was also a man of great compassion. I last heard directly from him just after my mother died two months ago. When Nomi and I returned home from the funeral, we discovered that David had left us a long message on our answering machine, offering whatever spiritual comfort and emotional support he could. I have been so busy dealing with my own recent emotional upheaval that I never managed to get back to him. I made a note to send him a thank-you card as soon as I had a chance, and now I'll never get to do that.

David was a mensch, and he made this world a better place. Many of us will miss him. As before, I send my condolences to David's parents and to Alexandra. May they be comforted in this time of great sorrow.

Lesley said...

David was a good, kind, decent, funny, talented, spiritual man. His untimely passing leaves a hole in the world. I will miss him very much.

May Alexandra and all the loved ones and friends of David be comforted among the mourners of Jerusalem.

Lisa said...

David was a dear, dear friend, and a good person. I'm sure I'll eventually think of something more profound to say; right now, I'm just numb. My heart goes out to Alexandra.

Janna said...

I will miss David more than words can say. My heart goes out to Alexandra and to David's family. The world has lost a good heart, a strong voice, a very special man. His friendship was a gift to everyone who knew him.

Lucienne said...

Dear Ladyhawk,

Yes, checks should be made out to Peter. He'll collect them into one total for Alexandra.

snarke said...

I want to use an expletive, but I can't think of one that isn't both inadequate and inappropriate.

We first met at his "new games" panel at ConFrancisco 2, and hit it off immediately. Of course, David was very easy to be friends with, someone for whom the overused adjective "warm" is entirely appropriate. So I guess it's not too surprising that a warm, friendly person would end up with lots of friends. I've met just swarms of people who were David's friends over the years. And yet, despite the quantity of friends, he somehow maintained (or engendered?) a very high *quality* of friend as well. All the people I met through him were interesting, engaging, colorful; valuable contributions to my list of friends and acquaintances.

In the normal course of events, I probably wouldn't have seen him again for at least a year or two. So how can I miss him so much right now? Frackleprat!

Mike Marano said...

David was a very kind soul. He radiate a quiet about him, even as he spoke. With David, what mattered was always that which was unsaid, and spoken with his eyes.

My deepest condolences to Alexandra in this moment of such profound loss.

Lyoness in NYC said...

I'm still stunned and absolutely devastated at the news. David was one of my dearest friends, and I'd only seen him a mere week ago, looking hale and hearty and excited about all the plans he had for the next year. My heart goes out to Alexandra (also one of my dearest friends), and to all of us who are now mourning one of the best of us.

Drewshi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Drewshi said...

I don't know. A great number of people use the word cool to describe others they know and I often wonder if it is really appropriate. You know that old joke about looking up a word in the dictionary and seeing someone's face there? Well, look up cool and there was David. I knew him from back in the days when I was doing The Chronic Rift. I hadn't seen him since then, but we recently reconnected through the internet thanks to MySpace and LiveJournal. I was rooting for him when he said only just a few days ago how much better he was doing. Alexandra and family, I am so sorry for your loss.

dmccunney said...

I saw the news this morning, and I'm still in shock. This has been a bad month for me personally, and news of David's death turned it from bad to unbearable.

I've known David and Alex for nearly 20 years, first encountering them as participants on a message area I once moderated on a BBS network, and meeting them in person at the SF conventions we both attended.

David was a man of many parts: singer, songwriter, guitarist, band leader, gamer, software Q&A guy, and most recently rabbi, deciding a few years back to make an interest his vocation, go to school, take the tests, and be ordained. I considered him my rabbi, even though I'm not Jewish, and David found that appropriate. He was the rabbi for a diverse virtual congregation, not all of whom were Jews, but all of whom considered him a source of knowledge and a spiritual mentor.

David suffered a minor heart attack a few months ago, but had treatment, took medication, made lifestyle adjustments, and all concerned thought he was well on the way to being 100% again. I last saw him at Lunacon, giving a concert in the lobby, and he seemed relaxed, happy, and healthy.

Now this. I'm beyond words, and beyond tears. I want to shoot the scriptwriter, and reshoot the month of March. I want the whole thing to be a bad dream I'll awaken from, and know it won't be.

My heart goes out to Alex, and to David's family. This is an enormous loss.
______
Dennis

Josepha Sherman said...

I miss David already. What a good, kind, funny person. And he was the rabbi at my mother's funeral.

It hurts to think that someone who was so much a part of our family has left us. But he's watching over us now.

Alex: My heart goes out to you. Please take some comfort in knowing how much we care.

Jonah Rank said...

I have posted the following at

http://www.jonahrank.com/article/348/in-memory-of-david-honigsberg-friend-thinker-musician-rabbi-and-more

:

In Memory of David Honigsberg: Friend, Thinker, Musician, Rabbi, and More · Mar 26, 01:39 PM

This is a very very sad day.
This morning, a fellow schoolmate and friend of mine, David Honigsberg passed away. I am deepy saddened and surprised by this, and it’s still taking me a while to digest all this information.
I actually only got to know him fairly recently – probably in the last 4 months or so. He and I would talk about music, the music business, and our studies together. As he seemed to be interested in many of the same things (let alone occupations) as I, and as his gorgeous debut solo CD The Pattern was released not so long ago and around the same time as mine was, I spent a lot of time this year honestly looking up to him and his accomplishments in his being a role model for me in many ways – even reading all of his sermons, lectures, and articles I could find through his website and his blog because I knew that there was always something profound in what he would have to say, something I could look up to, and something that even felt like I could be looking in a mirror of possibilities (or maybe even possible “Me”s).
The first time I met David, I recall that we spent a fair amount of time talking about our music careers (and I even bought his CD, which I’ve listened to over and over again and thoroughly enjoyed [especially the hidden bonus track “HBT” and its introduction]). And we spent really a lot of time talking about the music business – about how it’s a hard business – especially when it’s run by you and nobody else – how it sometimes can feel so unrewarding. Being a musician can be a lonely thing sometimes – especially a solo musician, and I was extremely enthusiastic that we had been able to create a friendship between the two of us. I unfortunately never got to make it to any of David’s shows as I was usually away when he’d be putting on a show, and he did not get to make it to my show at Cafe Nana on Valentine’s Day as he himself had plans for the evening.
I know that the short time I spent with David – chatting or E-mailing back and forth – was a whole lot of fun, and I wish it could have extended longer. I rarely write about friends as friends on this website, and that – because I knew him as a friend (aside from every other thing we had in common) seems to me why I never wrote about him on this website.
After my Cafe Nana show, David said to me that he and I should play a double-bill show together sometime. His idea was for us to put on a three-set show. I’d do a set, he’d do a set, and then we’d find some songs for the two of us to play together. In fact, the past few weeks, I actually had spent a good deal of time corresponding with David via E-mails for planning this show. Just a few days ago, he had sent me an E-mail that some of the final plans for the show were just being put together right now. But, the loss of my chance to be on stage with David is not what matters the most to me. What really matters to me is the loss of the altruism, enthusiasm, adventurousness, and wisdom of this Renaissance man whom I was blessed to have befriended.
Though he may no longer be with me in person – David Honigsberg, his words, and his music, will always be in my heart and in my memory.
ברוך דיין האמת.
Blessed is the Judge of truth.
יהי זכרונו לברכה
May his memory be a blessing.

LauraJMixon said...

I'm stunned and dismayed by this news. I knew David only slightly, through the SF community, but he was just a lovely, lovely person. He will be sorely missed. Alexandra, you and your family are very much in my thoughts.

Dianora said...

I am still in shock, or more accurately, denial, that someone so special could be taken from us so early. David always held a special place in my heart, and he always will. My deepest condolences go out to Alexandra and all of David's loved ones. He will be deeply missed.

Laura Anne said...

I make my living with words, and yet today I can't find any that will do any kind of justice except the useful standby of damn.

Other people are sharing memories. Mine all blend into a decade of friendship and all I can really focus on is one -- at a very bad time in my life, David coming over to me and, without a word, enclosing me in a hug.

I'm not a big hugger, and I was -- for various reasons -- angry at the world and many people in it, including him. David didn't try to tell me he was sorry, that it would get better, or easier, or anything -- he was just there for me in that instant. And that was his gift. He was, when it all boiled down -- a Rabbi. I can say no higher praise.

I miss him already. But I know that he will always be here, with me, and all of us who loved him, especially Alexandra.

William Leisner said...

My deepest condolences to David's family and friends.

Judith said...

I didn't know David and Alexandra well, but during the times that I had the pleasure of their company, I always saw them as a happy couple in love. David was a good person. Alexandra, I am vey sorry for your loss.

Susan said...

I didn't know him as well as some but I knew his music through the DQYDJP. He will be missed. My sympathies to Alex and the rest of his family.

Helen said...

Laura Anne's post struck a cord for me. I had a similar experience with David and Alex.

Last October, my ex-husband was killed in a motorcycle accident. Well, as I often remind myself, Vinny was an EX-husband for a reason. Many reasons, to be completely honest. However, when you've lost someone you were married to for over a decade and who was the father of your only child, it still is a traumatic experience.

Needless to say, David and Alex emailed me with their condolences. I inquired about possibly speaking with one or both of them in a religious capacity, and the answer was, of course, whenever I was ready or wanted to do it.

So what I'm trying to say is that no matter what, David was there for you. You didn't have to say anything. It just never was necessary. I should have known better than to ask.

Zophiel said...

I had the fortunate opportunity to meet with David last Friday. He was helping me — from a variety of perspectives that reflected each of the things he was — in a quite unusual project.

I'll miss him as a valued mentor, dear friend, gaming buddy, and a million other things. I'm glad to know I had the chance to tell him what he meant just a few days ago. One of these things was that I frequently borrowed "pages from his book" along my path in life.

It will take me days to find more words. I feel like a six year old right now — hoping that someone will say that it isn't true and that he's fine. I feel selfish thinking that I have to try to find a way to replace what I've lost in him and in his friendship.

David said repeatedly on Friday, "You're learning."

I never imagined I'd have to start doing it faster.

Farewell. And please, God, reward and protect his soul.

Gryphon Rose said...

excerpted from http://gryphonrose.blogspot.com/2007/03/stunned.html:

David was only forty-eight. He was a writer, a gamer and game designer, a musician, a computer whiz, and a rabbi. But first and foremost he was a wonderful person: smart and funny and friendly and low-key and incredibly loyal and supportive.

He and I met eight years ago through mutual friends and immediately clicked. His wife Alexandra often joked that David and I shared the same brain, and it’s true that when together we would think along the same lines, so much so that we could often talk and even joke in verbal shorthand. There was a long stretch where we had lunch together once a week, and it was always one of the highlights of my week.

For those of you who were at my and jendaby’s wedding, David was our rabbi. He also officiated at the baby-namings of both our children. We couldn’t even imagine asking anyone else.

I last saw David at LunaCon, and I’m so glad we had the chance to have lunch and catch up. We hadn’t seen much of each recently, because he was busy with schoolwork (he was getting a graduate degree) and we were both busy with family and work, but we kept in touch. We were working on a comic-book project together, which I will do my damnedest to see published in his honor.

I can’t think of anything else to say. My friend is gone. I miss him already.

Ann Margaret Lewis said...

This is such a shock, I cannot even say. The other day I was reading about one of David's concerts coming up, and I was hoping I could actually go hear him play, for I hadn't been able to do so in years. David taught me much, spending a year patiently teaching me Torah. I picture him talking gently with a purring cat in his lap. Gentle, sweet and yes, as Laura Anne said, great at giving the right kind of hug at the right time.

I offer love and prayers for him, for Alex and their family. I know everyone will miss him terribly.

Sharan said...

I was going to post to my LiveJournal but I think I'll post here instead. Ironically enough just last night I caught up on over a week's worth of messages on my friends list there and saw David post about how well he was doing and all the exciting things he had coming up in the next few months, and I was really glad to read that, but then this morning I woke up to the news about this in my e-mail.

David was a great guy. There are a lot of people I know from conventions, but not as many that I can really consider friends, and he was definitely one of them. I just remembered one time years ago when I'd stopped by a SFWA party at a con because a lot of people I knew were there, and someone decided to give me a really hard time about getting in. David was there and came over and said "She's with me." That was just the type of guy he was.

I'm definitely going to miss him, and now I'm sorry I wasn't able to make it out east for Lunacon to see him one last time.

Doranna said...

Truth is, I didn't know David at all--but I know many of you who call him friend, and how very deeply you care. I'm sorry for your loss--and I'm sorry I'm not among those of you who had the chance to know and love him.

munchkyn said...

It sounds weird to call someone a friend whom I met only once or twice. But for the past six years I've been chatting back and forth with David in email on the Malibu list, arguing with him, laughing with him, learning from him. He felt like a friend. His loss is so sudden, so shocking. It's positively surreal to see that I still have email from him in my inbox. My heart goes out to Alexandra and his close friends in New York. He is leaving a big empty space in all our hearts.

Anneth said...

Can't think of the right thing to say except "God I am going to miss him!" We spoke just yesterday. Once arrangements are firmed up I will be heading to NYC.

Alexandra, as always, you are in our thoughts.

Paul Levinson said...

What awful news! David was one the sweetest, gentlest people, both inside and outside of our science fiction and fantasy family. Seeing him at a convention always made attending worthwhile. Tina and my hearts go out to Alexandra.

david the drummer said...

I am so sadden hearing of my rabbi's passing. He was going to marry me this October. He also married my sister in 2001, thats why i wanted to have Rabbi David as my own like my sisters. I wanted to keep him in our family. When my fiance and I met with him at his apt his apt looked exactly like my sisters apt with darth vader and yoda all over the place. Tons of bookshelves. it was the same apt but 100 blocks uptown. I just wanted to say all the best to his family and my family is very saddened by his passing but we need to stay strong, im sure he would wnat us to be strong.
peace

Esther Friesner-Stutzman said...

It's impossible to recall a time before David and Alexandra were our friends. He was a good man, a sweet spirit, and he had a wonderfully wicked sense of humor. It was an honor to have him officiate at our renewal of wedding vows and a great comfort to have him officiate at my mother's funeral. I don't think there are words effective enough to communicate how much he is missed. Walter and I send our deepest condolences to Alexandra, his parents, his brother, and the rest of his family.

May he rest in peace and may his memory be for a blessing.

Jennifer said...

When I heard the news yesterday, my heart hurt. But though time and events set me a path at some distance, I remembered all the good things that David and Alex were part of for me in years past. The world will be the poorer for not having him, and those who loved him most of all.

Diane said...

I have nothing to add to the comments here, yet I want to echo others. I'm so sad to hear this news. I talked with David and Alexandra last in New York at the SFWA Publishers Reception. That's always a hectic night for me, playing hostess--seeing friendly faces there is such a help to me. Oh, my. Oh. Oh, my. I'm so glad I went to hear him play here in Pittsburgh. What an enormous loss.

Daniel said...

I just got the call from Alexandra, and I am completely shocked. David was one of the first people I met at my first convention 15 years ago, and I have considered them great friends since that very day.

My heart goes out to Alexandra, and to all of his family and friends. The world has experienced great loss today.

Daniel Korn

KT said...

iI never got to know David very well. What do I know is that he always took the time to be sweet and chat with me whenever he saw me. I liked him very, very much. He was the epitome of a good man and we'll all miss him incredibly.

Liz Williams said...

My partner and I were in NY yesterday when we heard the news and we were both very shocked and saddened. I knew David only slightly, but I liked him a great deal and it is a huge loss. He always struck me as an exceptionally interesting and diverse man.

Cary said...

David had that rare ability to connect to you on that deep heart-to-soul level.

While I am still at a loss for words, I know I already miss him dearly.

amysue said...

I am so sad to hear of David's passing. He was a sweet, kind and gentle man and my heart goes out to Alexandra and his family.

May his memory be for a blessing.

ellen asher said...

The news was particularly shocking because he seemed so well at Lunacon. He was a fine person and musician, and we're all going to miss him deeply. My heart goes out to Alex.

Keith R.A. DeCandido said...

He was one of my best friends. He was rabbi, bandmate, poker buddy, counsellor, baseball fan, songwriter, Scotch drinker, and just a wonderful wonderful person whose company I always enjoyed.

I'm sitting here listening to Blues Spoken Here, the album he and I and Alex and Steve and Rik and Tom put together over three roller-coaster weekends in Connecticut in 1999. It's prompting so many wonderful memories -- and my memories of David are wonderful, even the very very few bad ones.

I miss him horribly already. It's impossible to imagine life without him.

Keith R.A. DeCandido said...

A favorite song of mine, a slow, sad number by Mark Knopfler off The Ragpicker's Dream, called "Fare Thee Well, Northumberland" came on iTunes last night, and it particularly touched me. I wanted to post it here in memory of David:

Goodbye old friend of mine
Although I'll go where the lady takes me
She'll never tell what's in her hand
I do not know what fate awaits me
Fare thee well, Northumberland


Rest in peace, my friend.

Susan Shwartz said...

I can barely remember a time in New York that I didn't know David and Alexandra. They were very much a team: what impressed me most was that they lived their faiths and their principals.

David came late to scholarship and the rabbinate, as a full adult. It was a joy to see him hit his stride after years of hard work. It was like watching one of the old rabbis you read about. He was very kind, very gentle to all who needed him, and it's surprising how many people did. Well, maybe not so surprising.

David was very much a man of this world -- enjoying good company, clothes, cigars, Scotches, wines -- but with this added dimension that was the real David: learned, trusting, and humble.

I'm still in shock. I saw him Saturday, and he looked fine.

Lucienne said...

My relationship with David is best summed up this way: I'm a relentlessly honest person; yesterday when I was at the hospital looking lost and a guard asked if I had a family member who had died, I had no problem saying "yes." David was clan, family, one of my dearest friends. Nearly fourteen years ago when I went to my very first SFWA Reception, it was David and Alexandra who first introduced themselves to me and took me under their wings. We've been friends ever since. David had a way of making people feel good—though his music, compliments and care. Words can't express how much he'll be missed. I still can't believe he's gone.

Woad said...

Rabbi David was a wise, loving man and a great friend. My life was enriched the day I met him. His knowledge and wisdom was immense and I learned a lot from him. I am greatly saddened at hearing of his death. His presense on this plane of existence will be sorely missed. He touched my life in a big way. This world is a lesser place without him here. See you next time around ;-) May you be safe in your creator's arms David.

Rev. Eric Roberts
High Priest
Temple of the Sacred Craft

Dovetail Institute said...

His life was a gift to the interfaith community; may his memory be for a blessing.
Mary Rosenbaum, Director
Dovetail Institute for Interfaith Family Resources

Velma said...

David was a kind and gentle man, with a sweet sense of humor, someone I'd always hoped to have more time to talk with. His memory will shine brightly for me, always.

Warren said...

I don't really know what to say here - I'm still in shock. I knew David through working with him at a company about a year and a half ago for a few months. In that time we discussed music, Judaism, Kaballah, Science Fiction and just about everything else.

When my friend Sharon had told me she was looking for a sort of modern, unassuming rabbi, I immediately gave her David's number and told him to expect a call from her. She called me back the next day telling me how amazing he was and how everything about him seemed just right.

I guess that really describes David. He was an amazing combination of talents wrapped up in a large, but unassuming and immensely friendly exterior.

The world is now a far poorer place for his not being here,

Zechrana, livrecha - May his memory forever be for a blessing.

Robert said...

David and I could talk comics, music or Star Trek and it was always fun. He was easy to chat with, always welcoming with a smile. When he performed near home in the fall, it was our first chance to hear his solo music and we were delighted.

When I heard the news yesterday, while in Florida on business, I was shocked, saddened and somewhat scared. After all, we're the same age.

A gentle, smart, funny and passionate man has been taken from us and one of my favorite couples has been halved. It's not fair and Rabbi David deserved far better from the world.

Foxessa said...

I didn't know David and Alex very well, but for a period I saw them frequently. More lately though, as I've been more involved with history and other priorities, I've spent much time with our local SF/F communities.

But memory pictures of David, and of Alexandra, and of David and Alex, often came to mind, for one reason and another. They were together and separately such happy people. They enjoyed their worlds, and they contributed to them in every way they could: practical, spiritual, creative.

The level of brightness has gone down another notch. Our best memorial is to do our best to fill in for the lost light with our own efforts.

I'm so sorry. My heart goes out to Alex.

Losing a life partner is like no other loss.

Love, Constance Ash

thanbo said...

Well, if you're doing it at Plaza, you know, they do participate in the OU Standard Funeral program, which is relatively cheap, something like $4000, plus plot and headstone.

See http://www.ou.org/synagogue_support/chevra_kaddisha

Keith R.A. DeCandido said...

Some reminisces of David, culled from 15 years of friendship....

At the New Synagogue on the Upper West Side, watching David get ordained as a rabbi. There were about six people getting ordained; the other five had two or three people attending. David had a crowd of dozens. David was also the only one wearing cowboy boots, and included in his speech the country-music line "I hope I can be the man my dog thinks I am." That pretty much summed David up right there.

Hanging around in the apartment I lived in when Marina and I were together, which was often the central headquarters for Don't Quit Your Day Job Players stuff, after a gig, all drinking and decompressing, and someone said something bizarre, and David held up his glass and said, "More whiskey!" which has remained the refrain when the TMI stuff happens.

Telling David that Terri and I were getting married and that we wanted him and Alex involved in the wedding, and seeing the happy smile on his face.

In the studio in 1996 putting TKB together. David's recording the lead vocals for "House of Denial," and us all looking up and saying, "Whoa!" when he sang, "I've been chasing shadows" in an uncharacteristic deep growl.

In the studio in 1999 putting Blues Spoken Here together, trying desperately to get the "Feeding Love's Fire" guitar solo right. (The end result is a Frankenstein's monster, the stitching together of four different attempts at the solo. God bless digital editing.)

Standing with David in the dealer's room at the 2001 WorldCon in Philadelphia when Glenn Hauman (in costume in Jedi robes -- Glenn is also tall, bearded, and had long hair at the time) walks up to us, devastated, because not seconds earlier, a homeless woman mistook him for Jesus Christ.

The one and only time David and I worked together professionally as writer and editor was when he submitted a story for The Ultimate Silver Surfer that I accepted. "Sambatyon" was published in the anthology in 1995 (alongside my own story, "Improper Procedure").

The last time I talked to David at any length was at Lunacon a week and a half ago. A friend's son bar mitzvah is coming up, and David was giving the kid a copy of The Ultimate Silver Surfer, and he wanted as many of the contributors as possible to autograph it. I was able to tell him that one of the contributors, Dan Persons, was also at the con. I still don't know if David ever found him. Ironically, Pierce Askegren -- another friend who died suddenly and too young -- was also in that book, and I remember commiserating with David over the fact that we couldn't get him to sign the book anymore.

The Don't Quit Your Day Job Players were the musical guests of honor at Albacon one year, and David was coming straight to the convention from Las Vegas, where he attended a demo of a Star Trek game (he was doing a lot of game reviews at the time), and we picked him up at the Albany/Schenectady International Airport (hifalutin name, small airport, but they flew to Canada a lot, hence the "international" part). He came out wearing a Klingon t-shirt, his Coke-bottle glasses that he rarely wore (usually sticking with contacts), and a very hung over look about him.

In 1998, the DQYDJP did the "Prose and Cons" tour, where we hit half a dozen conventions up and down the east coast, as well as, God help us, Lubbock, Texas. That was an amazing journey, full of wonderful moments, fun times, nightmarish travel things, and some really wonderful music.

At the beginning of the Lubbock trip, we were waiting for our new connecting flight, having missed the first one (which set the tone for that disastrous trip), and we mentioned to the gate agent that we were musicians, and we wound up whipping out the instruments (my cabasa, David's guitar, Alex's fiddle, and Steve's mandolin) and doing an impromptu song at the gate.

Sitting in the lobby at the end of the Lubbock trip waiting for our ride to the airport, and the four of us start jam-writing lyrics that eventually became "Another Saturday Night in Lubbock," thus far the only song I've written or cowritten that's been put on a CD.

Marina and I used our large apartment to host the party after David's ordination, which was a good thing, as the place was packed. The high point was when David paid his father back. See, there's a Jewish tradition that you donate five gold coins to the temple when you have a son so the temple doesn't take the son (or something like that -- I'm probably misrepresenting it somewhat). Because David became a rabbi, he felt his father deserved his money back, so he tracked down five dollar coins from the era of David's birth and gave them to his Dad when he was ordained. It was a beautiful moment.

Practicing in the apartment, David demo's a song for the rest of the band on his acoustic guitar, but the guitar's out of tune, and so therefore is his singing. Alex gets this wide-eyed WTF look, and when he's done, she asks, "Sweetie -- what key was that in." David looks at her and says definitively: "J."

This was not David's first heart attack. That was about six months ago, and I was under such insane deadline pressure that I couldn't visit him in the hospital, but I did spend an evening with him after he came home. We watched baseball, drank Scotch (well, okay, I drank Scotch), and chatted, and just enjoyed each other's company. We didn't do that nearly enough lately, and now, of course, we won't.

Sitting in a rental car of David's going to the monthly poker game and listening to the end of an intense Yankees-Mets game during which the Mets coughed up a ninth-inning lead. David was always fun to watch/listen to ballgames with. I remember both in 1996 and in 1998, we had a DQYDJP rehearsal when a Yankee threw a no-hitter or perfect game -- Dwight Gooden's in '96, David Wells's in '98.

The DQYDJP were born when David, Pete Heck, and I did a jam session, occasionally joined by Spider Robinson, at the Baen Books party at Arisia in January 1994. They shut us down for being too loud -- right in the middle of "Locomotive Breath," too, the big stinkies.

A recent poker game when I had an Ace-high flush, and it was down to me and David head to head, and I was sure he only had three of a kind or a straight, and he wound up having a full house.

David was the primary organizer of a yearly outing we did for almost a decade called "WineCon." It started out as an alternative to I-Con: take a trip to the North Fork of Long Island, sample various wines at the wineries out there, and stay in one hotel. The hotel we stayed in had a separate building with about five rooms in it, and we'd all usually end up in there, drinking and buying wine, eating good food, gabbing, playing poker, and having a wonderful time. We haven't done it the last few years for a variety of reasons, and now I doubt we'll ever do anything quite like it again. A pity, as we got to know several cool places, and watch some wineries really develop over the years we went.

David was skinny as a rail, which makes his heart problems even more perplexing. But he also ate like a horse. I remember every time we went to a steakhouse after a gig -- which we did often, as after a gig, one needs protein -- and he'd get the biggest steak he could and wolf down all of it.

In 1998, the WorldCon was in Baltimore. Charm City has prohibitively exorbitant corkage fees for hotels, so several publishers that normally threw room parties instead set up shop in the hotel bars and bought people drinks. We were in the bar Tor had taken over, and David instructed the bartender how to make Harbor Lights, a particularly potent shot drink. He also did that at many parties over the years. I remember one person in particular having enough of them that she passed out on David's lap....

Again, during the recording of TKB, I was feeling very much like a fifth wheel, and wondering if I really should've even been on the CD, as I didn't think I was really contributing anything. David convinced me otherwise, and as I listen now to, in particular, "Saturday Show" and "Southern Angel" and a few others on that CD, I see that he was right.

During a volleyball game at a Fourth of July party, Laura Anne's team was down 3-7, and she looked at David and said, "So what's the kabbalistic significance of that score, Rabbi Boy?" and, without missing a beat, David provided one.

At Lunacon, David sticking his head into the Star Trek novels panel and letting us know that an Israeli magazine had done a story on Creative Couplings. This was the eBook with the first Klingon-Jewish wedding, and on which David had served as a consultant. He promised to translate it for us, but sadly never did.

Over the years we played music together, from that party in 1994 until the band broke up in 2000, it was particularly enjoyable watching David improve his craft, going from being a decent rhythm guitarist to a kickass lead guitarist. David was also the one who convinced me that lessons would be a good idea, and they were, doing immense amounts to improve my percussional craft.

In general, David was the Rabbi, even before he was a rabbi, and he was always there for everyone. He was concerned about his fellow humans, and always made an effort to reach out to people.

He was also a talented musician with whom it was a privilege to share a stage on so many occasions.

And he was a good friend. And I miss him horribly.

Andrew said...

It's very simple, and doubly sad because that simplicity is so rare.

David was a mensch.

The world needs more like him, and he will be missed.

Ladysmith said...

I knew David primarily through Sacred Space, an ecumenical conference where he and Alexandra would occasionally teach. He was sweet and funny, and I was shocked to hear of his passing.

David, you will be sorely missed.

Jim Crider said...
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Christiane said...

David was a truly warm, great, special man. Because of my job, and his and Alexandra's classes and jobs, we didn't get to see him or her very often in recent years, but we were trying to change that. Thom was so happy to be able to get together with David in NYC this past Friday. We had many great meals with David and Alexandra, and many great times with them at conventions, in New Hope, and in NYC. I always loved seeing his little smile and his quiet amusement when Alexandra would do or say something completely whacky (like imitations of Zorak's nephew Raymond). We enjoyed listening to his music; he had given Thom a copy of "The Pattern," and when we got the news, I just sat and held it in my hands, looking at his picture. My thoughts are with Alexandra and his family now. I have run out of words to say. He is in the arms of the Creator now.

flabosib said...

I've been lucky enough to know David and Alexandria for years and to have been able to share their excitement for music, friends, wine, good food and talking until all hours of the night/morning.

I miss David's smile and laugh already. Sigh.

Shalom.

Sharon said...

My heart goes out to Alex, and to her family and David's. There are not enough good words in the world to describe the wonderful man we have lost--and not enough sad words to adequately describe how we all feel about losing him. I'm sure we'll all meet again in a better place than this--but for now I'm stunned and staring at the wall, wishing I could wish this all away. Prayers for all who loved him... David, I'm SO going to miss you....

KrisAtTiac said...

I only knew the David that came to cons. I'll miss seeing him and talking with him. Nothing I can say will ease the pain of his passing; I with I could.

Ellen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ellen said...

I remember Rabbi David beautifully officiating over Esther Friesner's renewal of vows with her husband at Worldcon in Boston a couple of years ago . . . and I remember him at other conventions, before he'd made his rabbinical studies, when he was just a nice, thoughtful guy who made lovely music with Alexandra. My heart goes out to her. He will be deeply missed by many. -- Ellen Kushner

Jim Crider said...

Reposted from http://autojim.livejournal.com/11732.html, which I wrote late last night after a couple of experimental martinis wore off:

I first met David and Alexandra on GEnie, the old SFRT, sometime during 1993. I very soon came to appreciate his ready humor, his gentle wisdom, and his ready friendship. It wasn't long before I learned about the music, his writing, his scholarly pursuits. David's picture needs to be next to the definition of "Renaissance Man" in the Oxford Unabridged Dictionary. Alexandra, his wife, lover, and companion for pretty much his entire adult life, shared many of those same qualities, but with her own particular bend -- two strong individuals, who together were far more than the sum of their solo acts.

It wasn't too much longer that I got to meet them in person at Balticon '94, part of the large SFRT presence. It was like old friends weekend -- a new experience for me, as there were many I'd known only online. As time went on, David and Alexandra provided a ready hand when I needed it -- a shoulder, an ear (or an eye -- lots of e-mails), a kind word or several -- they were key to getting me through some very tough times. We met up on several other occasions -- WFC '96, which included a listen to the check-copy of The Don't Quit Your Day Job Players first album "TKB" and a wonderful dinner where I can't remember what I ate or what exactly we talked about, but it was wide-ranging and wonderful, then taking David, Alexandra, Laura Anne Gilman, and a whole mess o' luggage to O'Hare on my way out of town. Picking them up at the Trenton, NJ, train station for Pat's NYE party in Philly. A trip to NYC where I met them for dinner at an Italian restaurant near the South Side Sea Port that Alex assured me was genuine NY-mob-operated.

That last was almost 10 years ago. Our paths didn't cross in the real world again, though we continued semi-regular contact via the net and particularly David's Yahoo! group list. Through it all, David was on my short list of people I knew I could count on. I suspect he was on a lot of people's lists that way, actually. That's the kind of guy he was.

Was. I'm having trouble referring to David in past-tense. He had such a presence, such a joyful approach to life that you couldn't help but join in with him. He loved his wife, and his wife loved him. Such a bizarre combination: the rabbi and the Apostolic Orthodox Catholic Church priest. But they made it work with an ease that couldn't be faked -- they truly understood it isn't the name that you use for the deity of your choice, it's how you live your life every day that matters.

I will miss my friend. I already do. Something I have in common with a very long list of people whose lives David touched, inevitably enhancing. The world has lost a great man. It's up to the rest of us to carry on his legacy.

Rest now, David. While we are devastated now, we will carry on and keep your spirit of sharing -- and caring -- alive

Bob and Peggy Schroeck said...

I learned about David's passing from the SFWA Online Update. Sadly, I only found out after the services on Friday the 30th, or else Peggy and I would have been there. We are truly sorry that we weren't.

We've known Alex and David since something like 1991. Like a couple others here, I met them through one of the BBS networks they posted to at the time, and we quickly went from online friends to in-person friends.

I don't know what I can say here that someone else hasn't already said -- the curse of being one of the last to say anything, that all I have to offer are "me, too"s. I, too, have my gleeful memories of the Don't Quit Your Day Job players, recollections of the quiet, insightful discussions, of the wisdom ... and the humor.

Sadly, the courses of our lives had led us to drift away from David and Alex over the past few years; I'd already been regretting that and making endless mental notes to remind myself that Peggy and I needed to get back in touch with them. Now I regret not doing it sooner. Now I'll never have that discussion with him on the Kabbalah that I'd wanted for so long, or another night shooting the breeze in a coffeehouse in the South Street Seaport, or ... hell, or any number of other things that I'd taken for granted.

I'm going to miss him, plain and simple. He was one of the wisest and most joyous people I ever knew. Farewell, David.

-- Bob Schroeck


Bob just called me at work, and let me know.

Alex, I am so sorry.

Wow, I can't believe it.

We stopped going to cons, let ourselves drift apart, I never thought we would.

David and Alex you were never far from our thoughts.

I was thinking back to when we first met David and Alex.

Bob was this sci-fi fan, going to cons, wanting to be a real published writer just getting paid for his very first story.

He's chatting with people on line and trying to get me involved in just about everything.

Everything was new to me, never went to a con, didn't read sci-fi, didn't know anything about writing, was never on-line, and was feeling a little disconcerted.

And then I met David and Alex -- at first on-line as compassionate and caring and then in person: Alex a complete vision and David disarming with his smile.

David and Alex were there when I needed a friend, touched me in a way I will never be able to thank them.

While David and Alex were helping Bob with writing, they were introducing me to cons, art and fun.

We were introduced to a world of con parties, art shows and other writers.

They are the first real writers I had ever met attempting to live off their work.

That was the least of their abilities, the best was their ability to be good friends, real friends and care for so many.

Whether as writers, artists, rabbi or priest, lovers, friends, confidantes, be it at a con or in a chat room, you two will always be special to everyone you meet.

You are to me.

Miss you David.

Miss you both.

-- Peggy Schroeck

CatEcumen the Ecumenical Cat said...

I am so sorry to hear this news. It has been many years since I last saw David and Alexandra, and now I'm especially sad that I didn't keep in touch over these many years. We always think that there is plenty of time, and there isn't. What a tragic loss.

Itzlzha said...

I'm very sorry to be this late in posting my own condolences to Kin, Clan,Friend and Acquaintances.
Life has a way of stepping in and putting you in your place. It did for me recently.

That was when I turned to David.

David pulled me thru the worst patch of my life. He and Alex were both there for me when my world became extremely small an lonely.

As a member of DQYDJP, I share many of the fond memories that others here, both in the band and in the audience, have told. Circles within circles, we all find some comfort in our remembrances of such a great and wonderful man.

I've laughed with him...cried with and TO him...gotten drunk with him...shared stages with him...had one of the BEST knock-down, drag-out political fights ever with him...became distant because of pride from him...and yet, through it all, I loved him like he was my own brother. A part of me that now is so numb with grief even now.

I spoke with David, literally, hours before G_d decided he needed a damn good Rabbi and friend more than we all did. One day, I'm in tears for my own troubles, the next because the man I owe so much to is gone.

David and Alex officiated at my wedding to Anne at WorldCon Boston 2004. That was one of my finest moments in life...expressing my love in front of those I loved, officiated by the people whom I felt closest to in my life. That day was magic.

David was my friend, brother, mentor, and compatriot. I miss him more than I thought ever possible. He is in my thoughts and prayers daily, and it's hard for a moment to go by that I don't see some memento or reminder of our times together.

My heartfelt prayers and condolences to Alex, and all of us who were touched by a little greatness of spirit for a while here.

I close with a poignant musical memory, written by Steven Rosenhaus:

"And so I'll sing the last song of the evening
And make it my present to you
And maybe sometime tomorrow
I can lift you from sorrow
With this song

It's been a ball
we've had a grand old time
We played some songs and had our fun
And through it all I've wished that we could hold time
Just a little while longer
And stop the rising of the sun"

More Whiskey!

James said...

How can one describe the following roller-coaster of emotions?

I must admit to not having been in touch with David for the past 34 years. However, during the summers of 71-73, we were frequently found in each other's company at Camp Oxford, where his Mom was the camp mother.

I googled the Camp's name, and found that he had registered there. I also found links to his website, and sent him an e-mail. When I got a bounce-back, I went to other parts of his site.

So, there you have my elation at having found my friend, just to have it cut suddently short by this horrid news.

So, we should just celebrate his life, and appreciate the good gentle, and considerate soul that he was.

If anyone from his current life should wish to correspond, I'm Jamie Falk at: skibear99@gmail.com

Nikki J said...

It was this past weekend that I learned of the untimely passing of my friend and fellow musician David Honigsberg. I called them to let them know that I was sailing under the Trogs Neck Bridge coming into NYC on my way to the Caribbean. Alexandra answered the phone, and when I asked how David was and where he was, she gave me the devastating news...a bit hard to take as one is sailing into the East River, coming up on Hell Gate.
The last time I saw David was on the 6th of January this year, when he came to Somerville, Mass., to play the now-defunct SkyBar. The gig was great, and the crowd very nice. I took some pics and have posted a couple in the pics area of my MySpace page for everyone to view and enjoy. (www.myspace.com/nikki_j_69)

I met David and Alex when they were students at the University of Hartford in the late 70's. There were quite a few interesting nights of music and Dungeons & Dragons, not soon to be forgotten. When they moved back to NYC, I spent a couple weekends down there doing some recording with them, of which I still have the tape. (I also have a QWANGO tape too, I'm sure.) I tried to live in NYC, but it was more than I could handle at the time. We've kept in touch over the years, and it sure was a joy to see David cracking the Boston area club circuit at last!!
My most sincere condolences go out to their families, and my heart goes out to Alexandra, especially! I'm going to miss David dearly!!

SHALOM!!!!

Remember Natasha said...

I am so sorry to read about your loss. One thing that has helped me since we lost Natasha to a horrific murder is I have memorial keepsakes of her. I bought jewelry that I wear in her memory. I have also planted a memorial garden with a water pond. I found a lot of affordable memorial statues and memorial jewelry here Memorial Jewelry and Statues. Memorial items, urns, plaques, and statues can be so expensive if purchased from a funeral home. We could barely afford to bury our sweet Natasha so I know how hard it can be. You and your family are in our prayers during this difficult time.

mail said...

I had lost track of David after leaving the University of Hartford where I counted him among my circle of friends. I am saddened to hear of his passing, he truly died too soon.

Richard Ray

wilderpubs said...

Somehow I missed this news until today. I really liked David and I always enjoyed running into him and Alexandra at conventions. My condolences to everyone of his friends, we are all the poorer for his passing.

Wiharu said...

I was lucky enough to meet and hang out with David at a convention in Atlanta, in which, Don't Quit Your Day Job Players was appearing. I was friends with the drummer and there was a mix up with his equipment, so I loaned mine for the gig.

He returned the favor with free tickets to a banquet that included many heroes of mine. Tom Savini, Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison, to mention a few.

I was a kid in a candy store and felt so out of my element. He was was warm and very kind.

I still have the autographed DQYDJP CD. I'll give it a listen again tonight.

Condolences.

Wiharu said...

I was lucky enough to meet and hang out with David at a convention in Atlanta, in which, Don't Quit Your Day Job Players was appearing. I was friends with the drummer and there was a mix up with his equipment, so I loaned mine for the gig.

He returned the favor with free tickets to a banquet that included many heroes of mine. Tom Savini, Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison, to mention a few.

I was a kid in a candy store and felt so out of my element. He was was warm and very kind.

I still have the autographed DQYDJP CD. I'll give it a listen again tonight.

Condolences.