Damon Rose, the British-born northern regional director of Jewish Agency Partnerships, died Wednesday after a 13-month bout with stomach cancer.
See video above, produced by Damon’s colleagues when he concluded his position as Western Galilee Partnerships director to take up his position as northern regional director.
- Read Haaretz article: Jewish Agency ‘visionary’ dies of cancer at 51
- Read David Rose: A Father’s Words To Mr. Sharansky
- Sovev Kinneret: Remembering Our Friends – Damon Rose and Shay Shoshany
Below eulogy by Andrea Arbel, Director of Jewish Agency Partnerships Unit
What most of you don’t know is that I know Damon for almost 24 years. Damon was working at the Jewish Agency as “Advisor to the Director General of the Aliyah & Klitah Department”. Damon came to the center where I was working and gave a lecture on Aliyah and klitah. To this day, I remember how smart he sounded and how clearly he spoke. Since everyone else in the room was 60 years and older I was curious to know who this guy was. So I met Damon – a young and dynamic red head.
A short time later, I was working on a project and found myself at the Jewish Agency. I needed an in depth understanding of aliyah and Damon sat with me, provided me with reading material – in short, was my teacher. Again, I was really impressed.
15 years later, I had the privilege of becoming the Director of the Partnerships Unit and was Damon’s boss. I share this with you only because when I first started, before I even had a chance to get settled, everyone told me about Damon Rose, the legendary Partnership Director of the Western Galilee and Nahariya. I knew this had to be the same Damon Rose.
Why was Damon such a legend? Why was he such a personality at the Jewish Agency? It is because he was a rare mix of being an excellent manager on the macro-level but a professional who also delved into and command detail. Most people with vision – people who see the big picture – aren’t always the people who know how to translate the vision into reality. But Damon knew what he wanted, how to make detailed plans and implement. It was amazing to watch Damon work and he commanded a great deal of respect from me and his colleagues!
Damon had a rich history in partnership. He created the Hadera-Iron partnership ten years ago. After attending the 10 year celebration of the partnership earlier this year, I walked away with the understanding that the success and beauty of the partnership rests on the foundation that Damon built. He brought the same talent to the Western Galilee and Nahariya partnerships where he built jewels of partnership. His partnerships boasted very special and unique programs – models for other partnerships. Damon received the respect and friendship of his staff and his chairs and volunteers – of those who worked under him as well as his supervisors.
He not only managed his partnerships but raised a tremendous amount of money from overseas communities for projects that he believed in – such as building “Afuch and Afuch” in Acco, the continued development of the Western Galilee Hospital and so much more. All of this was done with a deep commitment to the Western Galilee and to the entire state of Israel.
We all know that Damon had a lot to say. He was critical about a lot of things. But he was critical because he cared so deeply. He was a Zionist. He loved the Jewish people. Maybe this is because Damon’s parent’s Carole and David made Aliyah from England; maybe because of the education and values that he received at home. But clearly, Damon cared and wanted to make positive change.
One of the most outstanding examples of Damon’s concern and leadership was during the second Lebanon War. I will never forget how Damon ran around between the katushot and sirens. I think he was the most outstanding employee of the Jewish Agency during this period. He identified needs in the field. He raised money. He had a vision. He knew what to do.
Because Damon was such a legend, it was natural that about 5 years ago he was promoted to be the Northern Regional Director of Partnerships. He ran 15 partnerships with great finesse – advancing their vision; dealing with small and big issues and problems. He was always there for his staff. He created a family of partnerships in the north with his wisdom and insight; with his sensitivity as a boss and as a friend. Clearly, the support that he and his family received from his staff and colleagues over the past year is a testimony to all of this.
For me, Damon was a star. He brought wisdom to every discussion. I always waited to hear what he had to say. He always took on more then what was necessary. He led the Business-to-Business initiative; he led very complex changes with Finance. And he did it all with perseverance and respect.
I want to finish by telling you that whenever I wanted to think out loud and contemplate one matter or another, I would call him up when driving home. For me it was taken for granted that I would consult with him. But after every single conversation, he would thank me for consulting him. It surprised me each time. That’s Damon.
But most importantly Damon was my friend. I will miss him terribly.
Leah, you were the love of his life and the girls are the fruit of your love. He was so incredibly proud of you. All of us in the Partnership Family are here for you. Whatever you need.
After such a difficult year and especially the past 2 months, I am glad Damon that is now resting. After such a valiant fight, after all his suffering, he deserves peace and serenity. I am deeply sad for all of us, but I know this: Damon’s legacy will live on in the world of partnership.
Below is translation of eulogy by Doron Lev, Chairman of P2G Sovev Kinneret Steering Committee and Forum of Northern Partnership Chairs
It’s impossible to talk about you in the past tense. You are so alive, so vital and your presence is so significant even when you are not physically present.
A wise man. A person with exceptional powers of observation and analysis. Identifies developments, identifies future reality and knows how to steer and act in order to carry out your ideas.
A man of vision. Damon, you are a genuine revolutionary. Thanks to your analytical ability, you know how and in what direction to lead the changes you believe in. And all wisely, quietly, privately, without creating a commotion, without trampling on anyone, without hurting those who oppose you or who think otherwise. You manage to recruit all of us to follow you to towards the future direction that you (and we) believe in.
You know how to put your message across. When you speak, you do it quietly. You don’t push in. You wait for everyone to speak, to say what they feel. When everyone has finished, you speak and everyone listens. It doesn’t matter what was said earlier and in what tone of voice, what remains at the end are your words, spoken quietly but with such intensity that they sink into one’s heart and soul and remain there.
You were our partner in realizing your vision and insight. It was very clear to you what was happening in the Jewish world, where it was headed and how to act in order to preserve the Jewish world. You accompanied us in the Sovev Kinneret Partnership in all the process of change in the Partnership. You traveled with us to the communities and you helped us. Your accompanying us made people in the communities, more than once, raise an eyebrow. They saw you as some kind of Jewish Agency representative, who wasn’t always welcomed. But you weren’t put off. After two sentences everyone listened. When you finished speaking, they were all on your side, and when you left to return home, everyone asked why you hadn’t come before…
A modest man, you didn’t ask for recognition for your ideas. The recognition was in their implementation.
Damon, you left us too soon. You had so much in your inventive mind. Ideas, ways to progress…and everything was just beginning…you left us a lot of work. I promise you that we’ll continue to promote your path of action. Your legacy is too profound for us to abandon it.
Damon, you are a rare combination of a man of vision and of action; in all our work, you will always be with us…
A few days before Damon passed away, the following letter was circulated on behalf of Damon and his wife. Because it was important for him to express his thanks and appreciation to everyone, we are posting the letter as it was written.
A year has passed since we received the bitter news of Damon’s illness; throughout the year Damon fought as bravely and determinedly as he could. But despite the operation, the radiotherapy, and the difficult treatments, the disease continued to advance.
I’ve been asked more than once how we manage to keep going in these difficult times. Here we owe our thanks to you for rallying to support us with heart and soul throughout the year; you experienced our pain and sorrow with us and you did everything in your power to help. This support moves us to tears and without it coping would have been impossible.
During this period I had the privilege of getting to know some of you, and you changed from being Damon’s work colleagues to being my friends.
One and a half months ago Damon was admitted to Nahariya Hospital and began receiving biotherapy which cost tens of thousands of shekels. You opened your hearts and your wallets and rallied around to help us like family.
It wasn’t easy for me to make the move from giving to receiving, but the knowledge that you were doing it from great love made it easier for me.
Sadly, we received yesterday the news that the biotherapy had not succeeded and therefore the decision was taken to discontinue it.
At the moment Damon is receiving supportive treatment only.
The money you raised will be used to cover the diagnostic tests that were not covered by the Health Service and the insurance, the biotherapy, and the cost of the care provider who is with Damon at night.
If any money should remain in the account, it will be made available for other Jewish Agency employees in need (in the hope that there won’t be any).
Damon and I embrace each and every one of you and hope that you will always be among the givers.
With much love,
Leah and Damon Rose