Letter from Rabbi Gershom Sizomu

July 7, 2009

Many people are what they are because an Angel of God came their way. For me, my family and community, Dr. Gary Tobin was this Angel.

We would not have imagined that from a village deep in Eastern Uganda, my family and I would travel thousands of miles to study in Rabbinic school, that our villages would be connected to safe clean water systems and wake up to draw water near our homes, and that we would own a health center that would save many lives.

Gary, your presence provided me the confidence and reassurance that things would happen and indeed a lot has already come to pass.

You taught me that action was more important than words. Your reassuring presence always made me feel safe even during the scary ride with you to Stinson beach.

I admired the clarity of your speeches and enjoyed the way you conducted Bechol Lashon conferences.

You always listened keenly to what I had to say and valued my opinion.

You changed my life and that of the community. In my eyes you were a gift from God and your presence will be with us for all days and we will carry forward your dream.

It is so sad that I was not able to join everyone to bid you farewell. May your soul join the souls of the righteous ancestors of Israel and may your memory continue to inspire goodness and love!

Diane, Adam, Amy, Sarah, Aryeh, Mia and Jonah, May you be comforted among the mourners of Zion!

Rabbi Gershom Sizomu
Spiritual Leader and Rosh Yeshivah
Abayudaya Congregation

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