Hesped by Rev. Barry Sklan

This is the text of the Hesped given by Rev. Barry Sklan at the BHC Shul before the service at the cemetery.

We are assembled here this afternoon, to pay our respects and begin to perform the mitzvah of levayat hameit to the late Reb Shmuel ben Avraham, Sam Marks. Sam, a life president and elder statesman of our kehilah, was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and greatgrandfather. When he spoke of his family his face shone. He glowed with pride, and the love and respect his family had for him was equally as deep.Away from his family, Sam was a generous man, caring for those who were in need and quietly and compassionately assisting them.Sam was a modest man and shunned the limelight, but always had time for people. He cared passionately for the Bournemouth Hebrew Congregation, and was honourary shammash here in our shul when I first met him.

I first attended shul here on Succoth, many years ago, and Sam’s greeting to me, was warm, friendly and above all welcoming. His pocket was always filled with sweets which he offered to all, whether young or old,  and they were offered with a genuine great pleasure. He served on the shul board of management for many years and was a treasurer and president as well. All these duties were carried out with total devotion and dedication for the kehilah.  That was always at the forefront with Sam.When Bournemouth council informed us there was no further land available in the council cemeteries for burial, Sam spent many, many months, almost a year I believe, trawling the area, along with Hilda, looking for a suitable site for a cemetery for the Bournemouth Hebrew Congregation.

When the land found, Sam told me that he didn’t know what he was going to now in the afternoons as his regular jaunts were now over. Not only did Hilda and Sam find the site, they purchased the land and were deeply involved in the layout and setup of the cemetery, and they ensured that the site they found would serve the kehilah for many, many years to come, making sure that there would be no burden regarding a cemetery, on future generations. Once gain, the caring and thoughtful attributes of both Sam and Hilda shone through. The result is a beautiful cemetery at Throop. Befitting of all the hard endeavour that Hilda and Sam put into finding it.But it wasn’t just about a cemetery.

Sam was also a regular at the services here in our shul. A minyan man here, ensuring that by being part of the required number, people could alway say a Kaddish when they needed to, and it’s only recently, in the last few months that poor health prevented Sam from carrying out this mitzvah. Sam, and Hilda were always at a cemetery for a levayah or a stone setting or at a shiva house, ensuring once again that there was a minyan and, most importantly, that the shul was represented.

Last Shabbat we read the sedra of Shemini, in which we learn about avodah, service.  The service of Moshe and Aharon in the Mishkan to Hashem. Sam exuded avodah, he thrived on it.  He served this kehilah with love, and that service, as with Moshe and Aharon, brought the Shechinah, the presence of G-d to this kehilah.

We also learn of the karbanot, the sacrifices, and again this is what Sam and Hilda have carried out over their many years involvement with our shul.  They have given, unshefishly their time, their involvement and their devotion, to ensure we have a thriving and caring kehilah.  In addition to their shul work, they are involved with so many worthwhile charities,  who benefit from their dedicated  time and efforts.

Over the past few years, Sam’s health has unfortunately declined. We can only look back and remember the man he was. Sam, to me, was like Moshe Rabbeinu. He cared for his flock. He nurtured his flock and he did all within his power to ensure that all was well at all times with his flock.Each and every one of us here today, must follow Sam’s example. We must be inspired by his unselfish service and commitment to our kehilah, and in his memory we should undertake to make sure we take on and do at least one of the things that he did so that his legacy continues to the benefit of all.It is our prayer that the soul of Reb Shmuel ben Avraham, Sam Marks rests at peace at Hashem’s right hand and that Hilda, Rochelle and David and all the family will be comforted by their memories at this sad time.T’ hey’ nafshoh , tzrurah b’tzror ha chaym, may the soul of Reb Shmuel ben Avraham rest in peace. Amen

Rev. B. Sklan