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February 16, 2012 - Image 9

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-02-16

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H

The Last Lecture Professor Randy

Pausch and Jeffrey Zaslow

Zaslow provided sensitive advice for the
"All That Zazz" column for 14 years. He
then returned to The Wall Street Journal
as a Detroit-based columnist. Then came
his amazing output of five best-selling
books in four years. After The Last Lecture,
now available in 50 languages, he was the
author or co-author of Highest Duty: My
Search for What Really Matters with Capt.
Sullenberger (2009), The Girls From Ames
(2009), Gabby: A Story of Courage and
Hope with U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and
Capt. Mark Kelly (2011) and The Magic
Room: A Story About the Love We Wish for
Our Daughters (2012).
"Jeff was a devoted father and his
last book was another way of telling
his daughters, CI love your said Fox 2's
Murray Feldman, who met his future co-
anchor, Margolis, after she came to the sta-
tion in 1984. Feldman and his wife, Marla,
would invite Margolis, then single, to their
home for holiday dinners. "We embraced
Jeff once they started going out:' he said.
Putting aside Zaslow's reputation as a
great, inspirational writer, to his legion of
friends, "Jeff was simply the funniest guy in
the room',' said JN columnist Al Muskovitz
— himself no slouch as "Big Al Muscavito,"
one of the "Purtan's People" on Dick
Purtan's former WOMC-FM radio show.
Alex Zaslow said she felt proud that
her dad's entertaining talks at events she
attended sometimes brought standing
ovations. Carolyn Krieger-Cohen, another
close family friend, said the humorous and
touching speeches he gave at the Zaslow
girls' bat mitzvahs are legendary.

Family And Friends
The Saturday night before Mr. Zaslow
died, Krieger-Cohen decided she and her
husband, Jason Cohen, should act upon a
new year's resolution and arrange a din-
ner party. They invited the Zaslows, Al and

Debbie Muskovitz and two other couples.
The guests didn't all know each other. On
the day of the party, Krieger-Cohen wasn't
feeling well, but persevered with her plans.
"No words can express how grateful I
am that we did not cancel;' Krieger-Cohen
said. "It was one of those nights — from
the minute everyone walked in, we all
became fast friends. So much laughing and
talking about everything under the sun."
As the table talk turned to marriage.
Sherry Margolis shared her thoughts
about Jeff with the guests, saying, "I'm
more crazy about him now than when I
married him:'
On that last special evening with friends,
Krieger-Cohen observed that "Jeff had such
a blast — he'd been working so hard.
"Now, no one can wrap their arms
around the fact that he's gone, less than a
week later;' Krieger-Cohen added.
"Jeff left such a legacy within the pages
of his books:' Margolis said. "For those of
us fortunate to have him in our lives, the
legacy goes beyond the printed word. We
know how special he was as a man, as a
person, as a husband and as a father.
"We were so blessed:'
Jeffrey Zaslow was the beloved husband
of Sherry Margolis-Zaslow and the cher-
ished father of Jordan Zaslow, Alexandra
Zaslow and Eden Zaslow. He was a devoted
son of Harry and Naomi Zaslow; dear son-
in-law of George and Marilyn Margulis;
loving brother of Darrell (Sherri) Zaslow,
Lisa (David Segelman) Zaslow Segelman
and Dr. Michael (Amy) Zaslow; and broth-
er-in-law of Randy (Debby) Margulis and
the late Dale Margulis. He also is survived
by many loving nieces, nephews, cousins
and a world of friends.
Interment was at Clover Hill Park
Cemetery. Contributions may be made to
a charity of one's choice. Arrangements by
Ira Kaufman Chapel. 0

e was the best of us.
Supremely talented.
Disarmingly humble.
Relentlessly curious. Deeply rooted
to his family and Jewish corn-
munity. Jeff Zaslow touched and
enhanced lives. For journalists who
knew him and loved him, he was
our yardstick for great-
ness.
While many tributes
have been written about
Jeff's remarkable writing
style and achievements,
his Jewish neshamah,
his Jewish soul, was at
the core of his great-
ness and goodness. It
was the wellspring of
his abundant empathy
and countless acts of
lovingkindness. It was
the source of the special
radiance that attracted
his wife, Sherry, and enveloped
family, friends and colleagues in a
warm glow when they were in his
presence.
In our current era of digital
media and instant information
gratification, Jeff was an ink-under-
the-fingernails guy. Reading news-
papers was a lifelong addiction,
providing daily highs of enlighten-
ment, discovery and enchantment.
And he made reading newspapers,
especially when his work appeared
in the Wall Street Journal, memo-
rable for us.
It should be no surprise that
while growing up in Philadelphia,
part of Jeff's insatiable newspaper
appetite included the weekly Jewish
Exponent (Sherry was a regular
reader of the Jewish Review in her
native Buffalo, N.Y.). Jeff appreci-
ated the role of Jewish journalism
in shaping and influencing a com-
munity. After moving to Detroit, the
Jewish News filled that part of his
information diet.
Jeff was more than an ardent
Jewish News reader. He cheerfully
agreed to speak at our events and
harbored no shame in "talking
us up" to advertisers. His wit and
legendary sense of humor were on
display as master of ceremonies at
a "mini-roast" at the Jewish News

in honor of my (now distant) 50th
birthday. Sherry and Jeff shared
their daughter, Alex, with us for one
summer as an editorial intern. And
as recently as last week, Jeff sent a
generous donation, with an accom-
panying note, in support of the
newly formed Detroit Jewish News
Foundation.
Much has been written
about Jeff's unique abil-
ity to find a story idea
and spin it into a magical
and memorable yarn.
I still recall a Shabbat
dinner at our home that
included Jeff, his fam-
ily and David and Ilene
Techner.
David, the respected
director of the Ira
Kaufman Chapel, knows
a thing or two about
trends in the funeral
business. Jeff's listening and ques-
tioning that evening resulted in two
stories in the Wall Street Journal,
including one that made the front
page titled, "And He Was A Terrible
Gambler: When Eulogists Get
Carried Away:"
Over the years, I've accumulated
a lunchbox full of notes from read-
ers lauding (or criticizing) a col-
umn I wrote or a cause I was advo-
cating. The ones that will always
mean the most to me are from Jeff.
Here's an excerpt from one that is
vintage Jeff:
"Hey Arthur, I was touched when
I came home from playing cards
last night and Sherry told me she
had been reading the Jewish News
(her favorite Thursday activity) and
that you had written about me. It
was so nice of you, and your kind
words mean a lot to me.
"Yes, I'm off for 22 Jewish Book
Fairs. My next book ought to be
`People of the Book ... Festivals'
about the private lives of all of the
ladies who run the book fairs! I
should keep a diary. Anyway, heart-
felt thanks again for including me
(and Sully) in your column.
Good Shabbos, Jeff'
He was — and will continue to
be — our yardstick for greatness.
He was the best of us. 0

February 16 a 2012

9

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