Dear Joan Rivers

Dear Joan Rivers,

You’re beautiful and you’ll forever remain beautiful to me.

You earned so much respect in the Jewish world.

You were a legendary comedian with great talent and someone like you will never be found again.

The love you had for Israel was very clear.

People criticized you because that’s what people know how to do best.

But you were perfect the way you were.

And you were funny as hell.

(No, seriously, you were!)

You know what? You were one of the few comedians who actually made me laugh.

I remember watching this one episode where you were talking about how people view women versus how they view men.

You mocked it so hilariously.

You took such a heavy subject and made it so funny that it wasn’t scary to look at.

You see, THAT was your talent.

You weren’t just a comedian.

You were a healer.

You made people truly laugh.

I wish I had the chance to meet you personally.

I think we would have made great friends.

(You remind me a lot of my grandmother, Bronia Greenspan, something about your Jewish eyes.)

I’d love to take this time to express what needs to be learned from you, Ms. Joan Rivers.

The world needs to learn from you how to make fun of themselves, and be willing to make jokes about things we always take so seriously.

The world needs to learn from you how to be true to ourselves and true to others.

The world needs to learn from you how to truly live to the last minute and take care of what’s dear to us.

It needs to learn from you how to be strong, and not let anything get in the way of what we really want.

You were such an inspiration in how you were never afraid to be real.

You did what you felt had to be done to feel that you were beautiful.

You did what you wanted, and every decision you ever made was great.

People may have loved criticizing you all the time.

But they weren’t in your shoes.

You made it all by yourself.

You became a woman comedian, when it was nearly impossible for any woman to be taken seriously.

And you weren’t just ANY comedian, you were a Jewish comedian.

You made us proud.

You represented us, and you represent us still today.

What I loved about you was that, with all of your power to make people laugh, you were always very careful not to hurt anyone.

(I could feel your sensitivity in the way you talked about your death.)

You said you wanted people to laugh and party at your funeral. 

You see THAT’S what I meant when I said, “You’re a healer.”

You came to this world to make people laugh, which is something not everyone can do. You wanted us to laugh at your funeral.

(But this is something we failed to do.) 

This world misses you so much.

Dear Joan,

I never met you, but in my heart you stayed.

In my heart, you remain.

About the Author
Anat Ghelber was born in Israel and moved to Texas when she was 13. She experienced anti-Semitism in public schools there. She moved to New York City when she was 20, and is currently studying for a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work. She started submitting articles to the Jewish Voice two years ago. In her free time enjoys writing poems. She's also a certified Yoga teacher with 200 hours of training who teaches in a donation-based studio called Yoga to the People in New York City.
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