In Tribute to An Extraordinary Jew
Tobias Tuvia Levkovich a’h
It was with a heavy heart that I lit my shabbos candles Friday night and for the first time in many weeks I was not able to ask Hashem to give Tuvia Moshe ben Perel a refuah shlaima. A few hours earlier, I learned the extremely sad news that Tuvia passed away. And so an extraordinary Jew was lost to his family, his community and to klal yisrael. My shabbos was not the same.
I never actually met Tuvia. He lived next door to close friends and American Friends of Ateret Cohanim board members, Robby & Laurie Koppel. But I feel privileged that I could call Tuvia a friend. Maybe not a close, personal friend – but a friend of Ateret Cohanim – and by extension – MY friend. Because whenever I reached out to Tuvia Levkovich for help with an Ateret Cohanim project, the answer was an immediate yes and within 2 days his donation arrived. I speak with a lot of people on a daily basis asking for their help for Ateret Cohanim’s critical work in the heart of Jerusalem. I love what I do. It gives me a reason to get up in the morning. Because I need to do what I can to strengthen our brave families living surrounded by in some cases very hostile neighbors. But I can’t tell you it’s an easy job. Not everyone, even if they agree with Ateret Cohanim’s goals and mission, are quick to respond as enthusiastically and heartfelt as Tuvia always responded. Just this past July when I asked Tuvia to contribute towards our summer day camp to get our kids out of the hot Old City for carefree fun,Tuvia immediately said YES. and I’ll mail the check out right away. After watching the levaya on ZOOM this morning I know that I for sure wasn’t the only person Tuvia responded to with a full heart right away.
My heart goes out to Tuvia’s dear aishes chayil, Barbara, his 3 kids and all of his extended family. You have lost a beloved husband, father, son, brother, sister and grandfather. What a kiddish Hashem Tobias was on Wall Street. I went to CNBC to look for the interviews Rabbi Axelrod mentioned in his eulogy for Tuvia. Not only 1 interview – many interviews – each with chumashim in the background. In the workplace, in shul at the Young Israel of Woodmere and known by all who came in contact with him, Tuvia was an outstanding example of generosity and kindness. We can all learn from his midot and compassion for others. His memory should be for a blessing. His family will miss Tuvia tremendously. He should be a malitz yosher for them from shamayim and for all the kinderlach in the Old City & Yemenite Village he helped with his big heart – his LEV tov. I will miss calling Tuvia Moshe ben Yosef. I hope I will be privileged to meet new Tuvias who understand what it means to share generously what Hashem has blessed them with – and to do it with smiles on their faces, like Tuvia a”, who was a happy and very proud Jew.
I write this on behalf of Dr. Joseph Frager, Chairman of American Friends of Ateret Cohanim, Mati Dan & Daniel Luria in Jerusalem and the entire executive board. We have all lost a good friend. Most of all, I write on behalf of our precious children in Yerushalayim. They never knew Tuvia, but they were the ones who benefitted from his huge heart. Tuvia, when you sit next to the Kiseh Hakavod, make sure to tell Hashem to watch over the children – they should grow up safely, out of harm’s way, living happily in the Yerushalayim you loved Tuvia: Yerushalayim shel Zahav exemplified by you, a devoted Jew with a heart of gold.
Barbara, his children, father and sister and brother should be comforted among the mourners of Zion on the loss of this tremendous Ohaiv Zion.