This piece is adapted from Moment’s flagship newsletter, Moment Minute. Sign up here.
Coincidence? Luck? Kismet? There are many terms for fortuitous meetings, but none quite as evocative as beshert. That’s why when we launched our weekly column three years ago celebrating stories of love, fate and connection, it was obvious what the name would be.
It was also obvious that the inaugural column should come from Faye Moskowitz. As our longtime poetry editor, Faye helped craft our poetry section and introduce emerging literary voices to our audience. She had also often told us the story of how as a young Labor Zionist she dismissed a potential suitor for being too bourgeois, only to be entranced as he came to sit with her every day of the shiva for her mother. When her “bourgeois friend Jack” died in 2020, she had been married to him for 72 years.
Faye died this past Monday, leaving a legacy as a talented poet and writer and, most important, having inspired hundreds of students who came through her classes at George Washington University. “Faye was a wondrous writer and a wondrous human being, a once-in-a-lifetime mentor and friend,” says Jody Bolz, Moment’s current poetry editor. “What luck to have her books to reread—stories that are warm, irreverent, keen-eyed, honest, tender, serious, funny, and wise, like Faye herself.”
A few years ago, Faye took part in our symposium where we asked: “What piece of advice do you think is most important to pass on to the next generation?” Her answer, reprinted in full below, still resonates today:
Years ago, I was a ten-year-old living in Jackson, Michigan, home to enough Jewish families to barely scare up a minyan at the Temple on Shabbat. My best friend, Eileen, who was “Piscopalian,” told me one day that her mother did not want us to play together any longer. “You killed our Lord,” Eileen said. I didn’t know who “our Lord” was, anyway, but I knew I hadn’t killed anyone. I never quite got over the pain of that broken friendship.
So, yes, I have a message for the next generation: Misunderstanding and pain often come in small increments. Ignorance about a religious faith breaks up a friendship. A cultural stereotype ruins a gathering. But these misunderstandings fester and ultimately cost us dearly in worldwide upheaval.
So, dear future generations, break out of your self-imposed circle; find friends who do not look like you. Share your convictions with those who do not believe as you do. The world grows smaller and more connected every day. Still, it has rarely felt so divided. You can help foster the kind of amity that may save a child, one day, from bewilderment, or even violence and death.
Shattering old myths and prejudices remains the only hope for peace on this planet. Stay open, stay joyful, stay positive. Above all, stay full of wonder, always.
May her memory be a blessing.