Mark was not the kind of boss to heap praise. If you didn’t hear from him, you knew you were doing something right.
He had the uncanny ability to see the big picture and the missing comma. Often with just a single “okay” or a drawn-out discussion ripe with tangents, he steered us in the right direction. Our decisions were always made with “WWMD” (What Would Mark Do) in mind.
His commitment to the Jewish community was contagious. He made us all want to work harder, to be better, to live up to the standard he set for himself and for those around him.
He was the consummate professional. Rarely was he seen without a jacket and tie and a Starbucks cup in hand. He had a deep understanding of and interest in every aspect of our operation.
He loved this newspaper, and especially this column.
He taught us. By word, by example, by decades of experience. He taught us how to be professionals in the Jewish world, how to work for the betterment of Jews in the Lehigh Valley, in Israel and everywhere.
We are grateful that he chose us. That over the course of 16 years, he personally hired each of us (except for one who preceded him), and that we had the chance to learn what he had to impart.
Despite the gaping hole in our office and in our hearts, we carry on.
We carry on his mission: to make our Annual Campaign stronger; to strengthen our endowment through LIFE & LEGACY; to support Holocaust education and prejudice reduction; to provide scholarships so more Jewish children can go to camp; to provide incentives and opportunities for more teens and young adults to experience Israel; to travel with our community on missions.
We will continue to build community. To strengthen the ties that bind us to our Jewish Community Center, our Jewish Day School, our Jewish Family Service and all of our local synagogues. To strengthen our relationship with and support for Jews in Israel and Jews worldwide. To be there anytime and anywhere when disaster strikes. Most importantly, we work to strengthen the bonds we feel amongst each other.
We know how he would want us to proceed. After so many collective years working for him, we can anticipate how he would have guided.
We carry on. We will continue to host events, to celebrate, to come to work and work hard.
As an aside, we note that Mark would hate this column. When asked earlier this year to be featured in the JCC Centennial yearbook, he quickly demurred. The focus should be on volunteers, he said. Not staff.
But Mark transcended staff. He was community.
Hamakom yenachem etchem b’toch she’ar aveilei tzion v’yerushalayim. May God comfort the Spark-Goldstein family amongst the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.