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The Truth Behind The Man: All of my life my father, in his own subtle way, preached for peace in the Middle East. This was the man who cried in front of me for the first and only time in my life when I was about 13 years old and our planes fired their first missiles at Iraqi targets for the start of the Gulf War. At that point I was able to see the fear in my father's soul, the fear for himself, for his family and for the world. That was one of the first times my father spoke to me about the terrors that lied abroad and the hatred for Americans.

On Saturday March 2, 2002 I had, what I thought, was the unpleasant task of sorting through my fathers draws and closet to see if there was anything I really wanted to have in my life. After a short while I came across several old and dusty copies of the New York Times. At first I thought, why would my father keep this crap. To me, I envisioned a man who could not throw things away. After a brief moment, I brought myself to look through the dusty newspapers and to my surprise I found the following papers that demonstrated the true man my father was.

   
   


The first paper I came across was dated Tuesday, March 27, 1979. The paper was covered in years of dust which after a quick wipe revealed the papers headline which read as follows, "Egypt & Israel Sign Peace Accord." The second paper I were to find was dated Tuesday October 20, 1987 and read, "Stocks Plunge 508 Points." The next paper I found was dated February 28, 1991 (My fathers birthday) and the headlines said, "Bush Halts Offensive Combat, Kuwait Freed, Iraqis Crushed." The fourth paper I came across was dated Thursday, December 26, 1991 and read as follows, "Gorbachev Resigns." Finally, the fifth paper was dated Friday, September 9, 1993 and read, "PLO Accepts Israel, Disavows Force, Attains Recognition After ThreeDecades."

It is truly amazing what someone finds and learns simply from the items a man holds close to him. Although Ira was a quiet man, who did not broadcast his views, he was always fearful of the terror the Middle East held and for Ira that terror took his life. I do not want my thoughts to scare you, but I want it to serve as a reminder of what we the world face each and every day and to never forget what the day September 11, 2001 took from us. Thousands of innocent people, my father being one of them!

What I hope you do take from this article is that he did indeed loose his life on 9/11, but he will never die in vain for I will carry on his special legacy until the day I no longer can. My father always preached peace and spoke of the crisis’ we faced in the Middle East, Europe and Asia and he was so right. These articles on the topics above show me how true to his words he was and I hope that my fathers desires and aspirations of peace will play a role in everyone else's life, as we try to take a step forward towards a peaceful planet.

By Bryan J. Zaslow
Director and Chairman, The Ira Zaslow Foundation
President/CEO JBCStyle (www.JBCstyle.com) & Jonathan Beth Consultants (www.jbeth.com)

           
           
   

Memory Lane: Upon graduation from College, I had the pleasure of securing a job in Manhattan and commuting to and from work each day, with my father. Every morning I would get up extra early to be on time to leave for the Rosedale train station. It was a bonding experience like no other. Looking back now, it is bittersweet to think about these times. I say bittersweet because although my father is no longer with us, everyday that passes by I appreciate more and more the times I did have with my father.

At the end of each work day, I would rush over to Penn Station to catch the 6:02pm train to Rosedale. As I flew into the entrance and down the escalator I would look around and out of the crowd of thousands of sweaty rushing commuters, I would see my father with a sweet smirk on his face. As sure as paddleball on Sat/Sun Mornings at 6:00am, my father would be there to greet me with that same, sweet, smirk. At first I didn’t really care. But soon it started to bother me and one day walking back to the car at Rosedale I asked Ira “What’s with the smirk when you see me”. The answer I got summed it up perfectly.

“It’s GREAT, you are doing the same F*cking commute that I have been doing for 20 something years!!!”

   
   


Yep, that was my father. He was what some people considered a “Quiet man”, but boy he could surprise you. He REALLY appreciated all of the things most people take for granted. Like the small, but great things life has to offer. Later my mom explained to me what I knew but never said. My father was so happy to see his son successful, but most of all he LOVED the company.

I had so many laughs with my father and there are so many stories I could tell. I reflect on my fathers responses all of the time. That particular response really does sum up my fathers humor. Well maybe the time that he asked me to smell my Mom’s mashed potatoes because they smelled “weird” is a better example.

Yes, he did push my face into them. Hahahaha.

After hearing and listening to many people speak about my father, it really confirmed what I knew to be the one of the best qualities about him. He was a great listener. Problems or great news, little jokes or something hilarious, the good, the bad or even the ugly, whether you were a family member, friend or just happened to be in a conversation with Ira, he was there to share it with you. He was great company and made you feel the same way.

I look back all of the time and see these quality’s in every memory. Even if there wasn’t a clear solution to a problem of mine, my father would say to me “I know, I know… It sucks, it really sucks”. Somehow that actually made me feel better. I was never alone. Anyone that knew my Father Ira was never alone. He would never brush off a conversation, question or proposed problem. He would listen and carefully word his response. My father cared.

He was fair. Fair with people regardless of ethnicity, race, color, religion or the like. I remember playing traveling soccer on the Vikings as a little kid. Everyone played. As my friend Yoni put it “One season I don’t think we scored just one goal!!! But man, we had FUN and the soccer Moms SURE WERE HAPPY!!!” That was just one bad season. As the years with the team progressed, pretty much the same group managed to win a big tournament. But that was Ira! A great coach, a great friend and an even better father.

The Ira Zaslow Foundation ™ represents who my father truly was. He was a caring, fun person who wanted to solve problems by helping. Whether he could do something himself or just help someone by sharing the problem, letting you know that someone else is there with you to help. No one should be alone with their problems. In fact not only does the foundation represent who Ira was, it represents who he still is, because he lives on in everything that is accomplished.

By Adam M. Zaslow