Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews -- For those who like their news and truths frank and sharp

My amazing brother Theo has passed away

I am saddened to report that my favorite brother, my only brother, Theo, yesterday morning in the Netherlands has passed away after a short sickbed.

He was actually never sick. But after the first corona vaccination, he suddenly became so tired. From the vaccination, he thought. After the second, he got even more tired. After that, his GP was on vacation. But when he returned and saw him, he immediately sent him to a specialist. After one CT scan in the hospital and some consultation, the verdict came: there is nothing more we can do for you, you still have 3-6 months. Nothing to do with the vaccination. Theo to his partner Astrid: Let’s go home. That was two weeks ago. Dismissing it as from the vaccination had spared him weeks of medical follow-ups and alternatives that wouldn’t have helped anyway.

I asked if I should come immediately to say goodbye or if I could take a day or two to have more choice of flights. Take your time, he said. “Of course, you never know, but I think I have until July 1 — if I make it.” He made it. He didn’t need any more. “A week to put things in order and a week to say goodbye.” He adjusted his last will twice. Married at the last minute to the great love of his life. (After all the disastrous relationships, he never wanted to get married again, but for the past 4.5 years, he was finally happy with someone his equal. His wife is very proud that she is now Mrs. Van Zuiden forever.)

It was nice to be able to say goodbye. I went with my favorite daughter. We didn’t have any old hurt yet to express. We had an excellent relationship for years. But it was good to be able to look each other in the eye one more time, and to say something to each other. Not the same as over the phone or Skype — as we know after a year of Zooming.

My brother was a very special person. Everyone is, but some are more special than others. Extremely honest. And when you are so honest, you also have a crystal clear vision. Was never afraid to give advice to anyone. Straightforward. And almost limitlessly generous. Just like our parents, an expert in giving. And when he promised something, you could count on it. Was often misunderstood because people like him are almost non-existent. He just wanted to do good. Didn’t need anger — being surprised and disappointed was enough for him. Lived soberly and modestly. Worked extremely hard. Was too strict on himself, a family ailment with long roots. A huge sense of humor and quick-witted. Life was serious business, but that didn’t mean you couldn’t have fun every now and then.

We were not raised in the religion and he stayed away from official Judaism. But not because he was an atheist. He was angry with G^d for abandoning us in World War II. According to good Dutch-Jewish custom, he did not drink a drop of alcohol. He was against euthanasia. He also did not say goodbye to his wife. “We’ll meet again, and I’ll be waiting for you.” He wanted to come to Israel with Astrid, but the coronavirus pandemic interfered.

He leaves behind: his wife, two daughters, a foster son, brother, sister, their children, and a very diverse group of close friends. May his memory be for us a blessing and give us strength.

Death is so absolute but also so relative; because you can bring to life the one you love, in part in yourself, and never stop talking to them. Also, when I got married in Jerusalem, I couldn’t invite my 100+-year-old aunt from the Netherlands. But she died just before the wedding day. So, she could come after all.

G^d willing, I will be sitting shiva in my apartment after the funeral, from next week Thursday evening.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (, born in 1953 to two Dutch survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork, and holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam). He taught Re-evaluation Co-counseling, became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His most influential teachers (chronologically) are: his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim: Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. * Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years, he wrote hasbara for the Dutch public. His fields of attention now are varied: Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (statistics), Politics (Israel, the US and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight Truth), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), Ecology and Veganism. Sometimes he's misunderstood because he has such a wide vision that never fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what many love about him. Many of his posts relate to affairs from the news or the Torah Portion of the Week or are new insights that suddenly befell him. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, reassure the doubters but make the self-assured doubt more. He strives to bring a fresh perspective rather than bore you with the obvious. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds must be disputed. In short, his main political positions are: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, democracy, anti the fake peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, Science, Free Will, anti blaming-the-victim and for down-to-earth optimism. Read his blog how he attempts to bridge any discrepancies. He admits sometimes exaggerating to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second-generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. November 13, 2018, he published his 500th blog post with the ToI. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having a peek outside of your cultural bubble. * To find his earlier blog posts on a certain subject XXX, among his over 1200 ones, go to the right-top corner of the Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". His second daily active less tame blog, to which one may subscribe, one may find here: or by clicking on the globe icon next to his picture on top. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
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