I will always remember Mendel for being surprisingly wiser than I. At Shabbos dinners, he would wait until everyone was listening for his d’var Torah and then continue – and for good reason. I was always irritated that people would be talking when Mendel was delivering such wisdom. He would repeat what he had learned, but then throw in personal insights and mature humor in order to make the message more relatable. As I said, Mendel was wiser than me in many ways. He knew a lot of Torah, yes, but what was impressive to me was his passion for applying it. Mendel corrected my behavior on a few occasions. But I don’t want to just speak in generalities. I want to share one story that is nothing special maybe on the outside, but meant a lot to me. It was Friday night and we were done with our meal. I had stayed and talked with Daniel and Eta as well as our guests. It was about time for me to go, so I announced I was leaving. To this, Mendel popped out of his room and begged me not to go. I was resistant at first, but the little guy was a good salesman! It meant so much to me that Mendel cared about me being there. Even though it was long past his bedtime, Mendel made me feel loved and appreciated. I ended up spending the night and, because of Mendel, I learned more positive messages in shul the next morning. Mendel lived what he believed in and so I am honored that he considered me one of his favorite cousins, and a friend.
-Emory Skolkin (Mendel’s cousin)