This weekend, Irwin Bear passed away after a long struggle with cancer. He leaves behind a life full of success in his business, his wonderful family, and also a legacy to those whom he mentored.
Irwin was President of San Francisco Hillel from 2006-2009. He stepped into the position when our Hillel was facing many challenges. In his time he was a relentless advocate for the students of San Francisco. He was never afraid to highlight our needs and our achievements and never afraid to push the board and staff along.
Most of all, Irwin was a personal mentor to me. We met frequently and, while he pushed me to move the organization along, he was always a teacher.
Irwin was a proud alum of San Francisco State University and he enjoyed telling students of his experiences and his life story. He never spoke down to them, but sought to inspire through his own example. He often attended events and was a beloved figure in the Jewish student community.
Wishing his wife, Ann, and his family a long and healthy life. Judaism teaches that a man is measured by the good he leaves behind him. Irwin left a lot of good, and his personal example is the greatest lesson of all.
Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist (now available on Kindle) and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at www.alonshalev.com