40th Anniversary Yahrtzeit of Louis Warshaw
Eleazar ben Moishe, father of Bonnie Schapira
Shabbat service 6 Cheshvan 5770
by Bonnie Schapira
My father was born in Brooklyn in 1906, the second
youngest of nine siblings. He was a star athlete in high school and at the
age of 19, became a professional boxer against the wishes of his family.
He won 51 out of 61 fights but had to quit because his nose was repeatedly
broken and he sustained dangerous head injuries.
He eventually owned his own taxi. My Dad was a deeply committed Jew and wore tefillin while praying every day. We belonged to an orthodox synagogue which my Mom refused to attend so eventually we joined a local Reform synagogue which in those days was barely Jewish in practice.
My father often spoke to us about the principles of Judaism. He was a very honest, ethical, generous person and lived by his principals. When I was growing up, taxi drivers did not take fares to Harlem as they considered it to be unsafe. My father repeatedly took taxi fares that went into Harlem. Although he was robbed two or three times while in Harlem, he continued to take fares there as he believed that was the right thing to do. He always spoke about treating everyone with respect whatever their race or religion.
Once when two men robbed him in Harlem after he drove them there, he was fighting them off when he noticed the cobblestone street they were on. My father stopped fighting the robbers. He was afraid if he punched them causing them to hit their head on the cobblestones, they might be killed. He came home with his face battered and we all begged him never to go there again. However, I believe he continued to do so. Because of his physical prowess, my father was fearless and did not worry about his safety.
My Dad was very friendly, he loved to joke around and was very popular among his relatives and friends. He is still missed but his commitment to justice, generosity of spirit and friendliness lives on in our children.