The Wizard-Warrior President of the world in the future

“Amir hopes to become the Wizard-Warrior President of the world in the future.” Those are the words that my talented and able friend asked me to use as inspiration for his caricature in the Moriah Yearbook. It was my best one. Amir -in action and in words- inspired me to do many things, among them to always push myself harder, believe in myself, and make myself better. Many of my most defining childhood moments were spent with him. He was the cowboy hat-toting star of my bar mitzvah video. We went skiing and rode bikes. He told me I could be a power hitter when others made fun of my awkward swing in the batters box; he assessed that I needed to keep my elbow up, and I hit my first home run. He introduced me to Salinger, Vonnegut, and others who are now among my favorites. Over the years we didn’t get a chance to spend as much time together as we lived our own lives and went to different schools, but I would always look forward to catching up with him when we’d eventually come home for Shabbat or the holidays. Amir was always doing something interesting, something different, something unique: past the times of his youth when he could be found torturing elementary school teachers with his superior intellect, Amir was now programming a tank simulator and sliding ass backwards down a frozen Alta chute in Utah. I relished his interesting stories, his smile, his laugh, his humor, his insightfulness, his refreshing sincerity… His eyes were always thoughtful and attentive whenever we spoke. The last time I saw Amir was smiling, laughing and closing the door as an Edei Yichud at my wedding. I wish I could still fly home for his. I will miss you Amir.
-Eric London

The Last Piece of Underwear – final version

I am so, so sorry to hear about Amir. He had a beautiful spirit. I searched for the poem Shoshana wanted (“The Last Piece of Underwear“). Amir read it at the Celebration of the Arts, and at the time Parallax did not have a real magazine. Much to my surprise, I found the poem, anyway.

The poem typifies Amir’s glorious, childlike sense of fun. I suspect he never lost that, and the world will be diminished by his loss. So sorry to reconnect with you in this way. You and all of Amir’s friends must be going through a tough time.

Edith Honig

A Teacher Remembers

Whenever I thought of Amir after he left Yeshivat HaMivtar, it was always with a soul smile. All who knew Amir understand the ingredients of that smile: his keen intellect, sharp sense of humor, desire – even passion – to understand…

I see Amir, even now, in my mind’s eye, as he would make his way across the beit midrash toward my table with a quizzical look which signaled a good question or interesting discussion.

Were I to have made a prediction about that teenager – fresh out of high school – I would have bet on an adult who was still concerned with discovering the truths that are often dismissed as the luxury of teenagers who have not yet experienced the “real” world. I sensed that for Amir questions were part of a genuine quest and that his pursuit of answers would be abandoned only at his peril.

How I wish that we could have had another conversation; another moment together. Instead we are left speechless, challenged with one more, final question – zaddik v’ra lo – and nothing to say but chaval, chaval al d’avdin…

I will miss him sorely.

Dovid Ebner


good bless you amir



There are no words, yet I feel compelled to write. Though I have not been in touch with you, Amir, much since high school, the picture I have of you in my head is crystal clear. Your piercing blue eyes, sincere smile, and kind ways have consumed my thoughts over the past few days. The word that comes to my mind is “individual.” During high school, at a time when most people conformed to get by and fit in, you managed to be your own person and do your own thing. From what I’ve heard and read, it seems you continued in this path in the years following high school, pursuing your dreams and touching people’s lives. You are already missed so much, Amir, and by so many people . . . To my fellow Ramaz classmates: It’s been 10 years . . . Let’s take the time to reflect on the important things in life. Let’s learn from each other and be inspired by one another . . . To the Lopatin Family: I was unable to attend the funeral or pay a shiva call this week because I live in Israel. I feel so far away, but at the same time I know what a strong connection your family has to Israel and that makes me feel a bit closer. You are in my thoughts and prayers. May God give you the strength and courage to deal with this, and may you find comfort in thinking about who Amir was and all that he accomplished in his short lifetime.

A brother’s thoughts

Some of you I knew, and some I regretfully never had the privilege of meeting. But my family is honored and awed by the work and love that so many of you have put into this labor of love. We thank you all.

The Combine

As Shoshana mentioned in her eulogy, the term “Combine” denotes “an association of people or groups united for the furtherance of political or commercial (and usually unethical) interests.” Amir introduced us to the term sometime in our sophomore year of high school based on his reading of the novel “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” by Ken Kesey, excerpts of which are included below. He rarely referred to “The Combine”, but rather, to “being Combined” (a derivation of his own creation). In other words, for Amir, the concept was most relevant as a measure of personal character, rather than any political or social cause. Amir was far more complex that any fictional character, but those who knew him will find shades of his personality reflected in these paragraphs describing the protagonist of the novel, McMurphy.

From “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”:

“McMurphy doesn’t know it, but he’s onto what I realized a long time back, that it’s not just the Big Nurse by herself, but it’s the whole Combine, the nation-wide Combine that is the really big force, and the nurse is just a high-ranking official for them.”

“The ward is a factory for the Combine. It’s for fixing up mistakes made in the neighborhoods and in the schools and in the churches, the hospital is. When a completed project goes back out into society, all fixed up good as new, better than new sometimes, it brings joy to the Big Nurse’s heart; something that came in all twisted different is now a functioning, adjusting component, a credit to the whole outfit and a marvel to behold…”

“[but] you never can tell when just that certain one might come in who’s free enough to foul things up right and left, really make a hell of a mess and constitute a threat to the whole smoothness of the outfit. And, like I explain, the Big Nurse gets real put out if anything keeps her outfit from running smooth.”

“the new guy is different…different from anybody been coming on this ward for the past ten years, different from anybody they ever met outside. He’s just as vulnerable, maybe, but the Combine didn’t get him…How’d he manage to slip the collar? Maybe… the Combine missed getting to him soon enough with the controls. Maybe he growed so wild all over the country, battling around from one place to another… traveling lightfooted and fast, keeping on the move so much that the Combine never had a chance to get anything installed. Maybe that’s it, he never gave the Combine a chance…because a moving target is hard to hit”

“There were times that week when I’d hear that full throttled laugh, watch him scratching his belly and stretching and yawning and leaning back to wink at whoever he was joking with, everything coming to him just as natural as drawing breath, and I’d quit worrying about the Big Nurse and the Combine behind her. I’d think he was strong enough being his own self that he would never back down the way she was hoping he would. I’d think, maybe he truly is something extraordinary. He’s what he is, that’s it. Maybe that makes him strong enough being what he is.”

Amir, you will be missed for many years to come.

– Moshe


You have changed me in so many ways,
You have changed my outlook on life.
You taught me to think, you taught me to love,
You instilled in me a confidence.
I now appreciate the world around me.
I ask G-d why, because I still believe.
I still believe, because I want you to be here.
I want you watching over me, over us, guiding us.
I want to know that your love moves us on.


A quote that epitomizes Amir

From: Rachel Andron
At a conference for Public Interest lawyers, the following quote was used to describe individuals who are driven and dedicated to changing the world for the better. Amir was one of those individuals…

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them; disagree with them; glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”

-On The Road, Jack Kerouac

Amir, we will miss you forever.