Healing Kaddish for Emanuel “Manny” Pushkin

Kaddish, Requiem, Life for Manny Pushkin

 

Uncle  Emanuel “Manny” Pushkin in his Home with my Father, 2011, Miami.

 

 

I received a message via Facebook from my brother on the passing of my beloved uncle Manny Pushkin. His influence over my heart, and my photography have made me the photographer that have become.

I remember going to his home off Old Cutler Road and walking in the large double doors and being surrounded by art.  Not just paintings but most specifically photographs.  Uncle Manny had a passion for photography that captured my imagination.  I was amazed at how light and shadows danced in his  photographs.

When the time was right we would all shuffle into his study.  We would on the floor as he dimmed the lights to watch a slide show from their most recent trip.  We would be swept away to the golden hour sunsets of Bryce Canyon, the snow capped peaks of the Rocky Mountains.  We sat in the darkness and just marveled.  It was magic to my heart and eyes.  I still hear that gentle roar of the kodak projector, the kachunk of the changing slides and his beautiful sweet voice reliving the stories of his and my Aunt Claire’s travels.  “I want to do that,” I said to myself.

My mother once asked Uncle Manny how come all his pictures came out so well.  He replied, “Linnie, I don’t show people my bad photographs.”  This nugget of knowledge has stuck with me all the years.  The most important part of the editing process is to be selective about what you show others.

Technically I didn’t learn much from him, but I did learn that one has to have passion for life to be an artist.  He embraced life with such a passion.  He would from time pass off some of his old and equipment to me.  I still have the cameras he has given me.

He made everyone feel special.  He always wanted to know about what we were doing what we are thinking about.  I always received a birthday greeting even though I am now have become a man.

Later in life after retiring he had a new passion for butterflies.  He and Claire planted plants that attract butterflies.  For him it was never what can the world do for him, but it was always what can he do to make the world a more beautiful place.

I know that all of the hearts that he touched will shed a tear, and remember all the joy that he brought into the world.  I will always miss his warm heart.  His ability to communicate with anyone. For me as an artist, I would not be where I am today without sitting in the darkened study, and gazing up at his images.

My heart goes out to my Aunt Claire, My Cousin Joanie, My mother and all whose hearts he touched..  We miss you.

12 Responses to “Healing Kaddish for Emanuel “Manny” Pushkin”

  1. Mom Says:

    What a wonderful tribute. You have captured his essence.

  2. Valerie Kamikubo Says:

    This is a wonderful story and tribute, Jacob. I had a dear aunt who past this past year who also played the same role in my life. She also taught me the importance of passing on our passions to those in our lives who are younger than us… my condolences to you and your family.

  3. Adrienne Buntain Says:

    I also felt endearded to him! In actuality I probably only saw him a dozen times in my life! He was always gracious and interested and never forgot the details of what was important in my life. He knew names and acted as if he had just seen me recently. Aunt Claire is my favorite because she is also so open and loving. My Dad was equally loving but did not engage my interests as Uncle Manny could. Gentle, kind and caring! What a role model for our family and I am sure his friends and community also. If you Google his name there are two wonderful photos and an article about him.

  4. Ken Chayt Says:

    Dear Jacob and all,

    Manny was my first cousin once removed. My aunt Mimi just now called from Israel to give me the sad news of Manny’s passing.

    Living near Washington DC, I saw Manny and Claire unfortunately only rarely in my adult life. I do remember visiting them in Florida decades ago, I think when I was in my late teens in the early ’60s, when Manny took me to his office and taught me a great deal about vision and lenses (information which serves me well to this day). But mainly I remember how warm and friendly he was, really the nicest person you could ever meet.

    After a long hiatus I saw him briefly for what would be the last time at a 2006 family reunion in Baltimore.

    I wish we had lived closer to Manny and Claire. As it turns out, I have an interest in photography as well. It would have been nice to share that with him.

    My heartfelt sympathy and condolences to Claire, Joanie, and all Manny’s family.

    Warmest,
    Kenny Chayt

  5. Yoram Says:

    Beautiful text Jacob, my heart goes out to you and your family.

  6. Daniel Says:

    This is all so accurate, Jacob. He too imparted a love of nature onto me and birthed my passion for photography. The images of his and Claire’s travels with friends and family left a deep desire in me for travel and exploration. Manny was not only the best grandpa I could ask for, he was the best person I’ve ever known.

    Thank you, Jacob for this tribute. It’s beautiful.

  7. Jacob Says:

    daniel

    im thankful that you appreciate the post.
    he was so much to so many people. we both share the name daniel (though mine is spelled daniyel)
    due to the loss of his daughter. for a man to have lost so much, but still give so much amazes
    my heart, and inspires me to do more.

    nature, art, photography and being a real human being to each other the short time that we are here
    on this planet.

    shalom

    jacob

  8. Jacob Says:

    thanks so much yoram
    he was a mench to all…

  9. Jacob Says:

    kenny
    i wish you had the chance to spend more time with him but it
    looks like the time that you did had a great influence on you.

    please keep in touch as the family spreads out across the planet.

    shalom

    jacob

  10. Jacob Says:

    thank you so much adrienne.

    you are so right to uncle manny’s attention to details. his
    memory of things that i seemed to have mentioned in passing, that would
    come up years later.

    he will be missed by all…

    shalom
    jacob

  11. Jacob Says:

    valerie

    there are certain people that are placed in our life for a reason.
    we need to cherish them, and be open to what they offer us, and then return
    by offering ourselves to others.

    much love

    jacob

  12. Jacob Says:

    i appreciate it mom…

    truly a great one out of many…

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