A sense of awe, at a friend’s end

To the Editor:

I heard of Jon Lipsky’s death at about 4 pm, Saturday, March 19. My wife Roberta and I thought that we should go by to pay our respects to Kanta, Adam, and Jonah. We walked into the house, and what happened next literally changed my life.

The very sacred Jewish ceremony of preparing Jon’s body for burial was about to begin. The process was being orchestrated by Rabbi Brian Walt. Although Jon was born Jewish, he was also a man of many beliefs. He had a brilliant mind and was able to express those beliefs through teaching, writing, being a man of the theatre, and just being a mensch.

I never realized the stark and jolting beauty surrounding certain Jewish and Hindu ceremonies. Jon’s wife, Kanta is a practicing Hindi. The Jewish tradition of bathing the body after death left me with a sense of awe. Here I was, washing my very close friend’s lifeless body. Washing his arms, his back, his legs, his head.

I say all this with the deepest respect for Jon and his family. I felt privileged and honored and humbled to be able to serve Jon and his family in this way. An intimacy was established that was imprinted in my mind and soul. It was an experience that I will carry with me forever.

So Jonny, rest in peace, and for those of us who knew you, thanks for sharing and enriching all of us with your brilliant life.

Nicky Azzollini

West Tisbury