From Yitzchack (Gary) Freeman, D.C.
Dr. Moshe Gottlieb, a Graduate of Los Angleles Chiropractic College, was killed in Jerusalem along with 19 others in a suicide bus bombing on the morning of 18 June, 2002. He worked in Los Angeles till 1978 and then he moved to Israel.
I first met Dr. Gottlieb in 1987 on a late summer Friday night, after Sabbath prayers in a synagogue I attended while visiting friends in the Jerusalem neighborhood where he lived. He told me, “Shalom Aleichem. Great to have another DC in Israel.” (He was one of the first; I was the 14th.) “If you’re serious about helping people, and not just into making a few shekels, I’ll help you as much as you want,” he told me.
In 1990 I called him from Bnei Braq (a Tel Aviv suburb). “I need some of your N.O.T. (Neuro Organiztional Technique) expertise in a special needs school for Down’s, CP, autistic, crainiomegaly, etc. where I’m volunteering. Dr. Gottlieb, most of the kids love my adjusting, but two start crying as soon as I enter the room. I need to do something different with them.” Dr. Gottlieb made the 1 1/2 hour trip and started volunteering with me. I got married and moved up to Jerusalem. He would have still been working there. He loved those kids. He called them “my kids.”
Three days after his murder, during the hour and a half which I paid a condolence call to his wife and children, a Down’s child’s mother entered with the picture seen here. She told Mrs. Gottlieb about how much her daughter improved with his treatment. She was just one of many patients who had already filled up four books (the kind which guests sign at a wedding or Bar Mitzvah). Many a story of how he changed his or her life. I know he changed mine.
“You were always there to help or teach in the synagogue, to do good deeds, or to just encourage us with your smile,” Rabbi Eliahu Schlesinger, the Ashkenazi rabbi of Jerusalem’s Gilo neighborhood, said yesterday as family, friends, and neighbors gathered to pay their last respects to Dr. Moshe Gottlieb, who was among the victims in Tuesday’s suicide bombing of an (public service) Egged bus in Jerusalem.
Gottlieb, 70, who immigrated here in 1978 from Los Angeles with his wife, Sheila, was traveling from his home in Gilo (northern Jerusalem) to a Jerusalem hospital to perform one of his many acts of charity on Tuesday when the terrorist’s bomb cut him down.
Eytan Miller, who worked alongside Gottlieb at the Central Synagogue of Gilo, where Gottlieb served as the gabbai (sextant or non-clergy synagogue organizer) for 20 years, remembered his friend as the first one to arrive at the synagogue in the morning and the last to leave in the evening, finding time for his love of learning Jewish texts despite his busy professional life.
“The synagogue was his first home,” Rabbi Schlesinger said in his remarks, periodically pausing to wipe away tears as he recalled how eagerly Gottlieb, whose shroud-wrapped body lay opposite the ark during the eulogies, served in the synagogue.
“Every day he did Mitzvoth (commandments and good deeds), but Tuesday was his special day,” Miller recalled yesterday.
“He would start his work day at 8:15 in a Jerusalem clinic for the chronically ill, which is where he was headed the day of the attack. Then after treating other people in the city, he would go by bus to Bnei Brak, where every Tuesday he treated children with Down’s Syndrome, CP, and whatever and then make sure he got back to Gilo for afternoon prayers.”
“I asked him once: ‘Why don’t you slow down a little, start your day a little later?’ He said: ‘What can I do, people are waiting for me, waiting for my treatment.'”
Miller said many times Gottlieb, a chiropractor, succeeded in finding a cure for the patient’s problem where other doctors had failed. “He was just the guest of honor at the wedding of a girl who was diagnosed with a brain tumor whom he helped recover,” Miller said.
“You’re not supposed to be here, Abba (Father),” Gottlieb’s son Seymour said to his father as he traced his life story. Born in New York, he gave up a potentially lucrative career in the fur industry after discovering his son had asthma. Moving to Los Angeles, he started over, studying to become a chiropractor, then fell in love with Israel on his first visit in 1972.
He and his wife moved here in 1978, at first to the capital’s center of town. However, when he met Rabbi Schlesinger, he moved to Gilo, and even during recent years of trouble (i.e. sniper fire from the neighboring Arab town of Beit Jalla ) he “couldn’t understand how anyone could leave the neighborhood and the rabbi,” Miller said.
Other speakers recalled how he always managed to find time to help others, whether through his professional skills, by teaching classes in the synagogue, or by quietly providing financial assistance to needy individuals or families.
“What will we do without you, Reb Moshe,” R. Schlesinger asked, paying tribute to a man who died sanctifying G-d’s name, on his way to help his fellowman.
He is survived by his wife, his brother Judah, his son, Seymour, a daughter, Feige, in New York, and 12 grandchildren. He was buried at Jerusalem’s Har Hamenuhot Cemetery.
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