I can't imagine shul without Moshe. Moshe and Deborah were always there, about halfway back on the left side, where he thought the light was better. They helped found our Congregation and they kept it going - they worked on garage sales, they lead services, they organized potlucks, they chaired committees, they welcomed a stream of student rabbis and they mentored new leaders.
Moshe taught me the Friday night melodies. He sat on the bet din for Sam's conversion, and Sam ordered a tallit just like Moshe's - long and wide, to be worn doubled up on the shoulders. Moshe and Deborah were in the congregation when we brought Eve to her first Shabbat service. He was my mentor when I was President the first time, and he and Deborah told us the history of this house when we moved here from the outlying suburbs. They kvelled with us at Eve's naming, and they cried with us when we came back to shul with empty arms after we lost Jesse and Rose.
Moshe was preparing for his second bar mitzvah - at 83, you get to do it again - when he suffered a stroke. We cancelled the service, but six months later he was back, wearing his beret and sitting in his usual seat. Deborah set up a music stand to hold his prayerbook, and he could still sing. That was six years ago. They've been hard years, and the last six months have been the kind of terrible half-existence that no one should have to endure. It seemed even more of an indignity than usual because it was Moshe - tall, strong, opinionated, kind, brilliant, Moshe. His death last night was a blessing, and a terrible loss.
Tomorrow we will gather for his funeral; tomorrow night I will lead service for the first shiva minyan. It's only fitting, since I learned to lead services from Moshe. I am not ready for the torch to be passed, but the time has come. Tomorrow we will sing for Moshe, as Moshe sang for us for so long.