osewalrus (osewalrus) wrote,

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Baruch Dayan Emet: Solomon Ben Jacob (mka Sherwin J Kader)

It was a shock to read in the LJs of several friends that a very old friend from Pennsic has passed on to Olam Habbah. I have known Solomon Ben Jacob, owner of Maiden Mongolia, since my second Pennsic (Pennsic 19).

You can read his obituary here: http://www.blanegoodmanfunerals.com/home1.asp?ObituaryID=69642765&fhid=10023195&topic=10&level=2

Some personal remembrances below . . . .

I will never forget how I met Solly. It was Pennsic 19, and I was strolling through the merchant area (which at that time consisted of the area around the Barn) with Leslie the Bard (mka Leslie Fish) when I spotted a silk ribbon with Hebrew letters trailing off a merchant yurt belonging to one "Maiden Mongolia." Curious, I stopped and read the ribbon. I immediately collapsed in laughter. Really. It was like that Monty Python skit where the English develop "the funniest joke in the world" and folks drop dead laughing. Leslie, naturally enough, wanted to know what the joke was.

When I had recovered sufficiently, I translated: "When you got 'em by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow."

It was such an unexpected but perfect thing to find trailing off a mongol yurt. Naturally, I needed to find out who had he banner made. This was how I met Solomon ben Jacob, brother of the Dark Horde. For every Pennsic thereafter, until he retired last year, I would stop by his yurt and chat. We never saw each other outside of War, living fairly far apart. But it was pleasant to spend a half an hour or an hour at a time, sometimes in Hebrew, sometimes in English, chatting and catching up on the year's doings.

Solly was always pleased to see a fellow religious Jew in the SCA. When Ewen of Viking Longship Trading Company first started getting a Friday night service together, Solly would try to make it. As the years went on, he was there in spirit rather than practice, as his health and other concerns made it difficult for him. But he was always glad to hear of Jewish services at Pennsic and always supportive. (We stopped running a service after Aaron was born, btw.)

I missed seeing Solly and Maiden Mongolia this year. It seems I will have to wait until we are both up in the yeshivah shel ma'ala (trans: the Great Jewish Seminary In The Sky), where I expect I shall find Solly as the only Jew living in a yurt and wearing a tartan, arguing with Rashi about the superiority of certain vintning techniques and the virtues of kosher kumis.

One time, I asked Solly what he told people when they asked for a translation of his banner. He smiled and said: "I tell them it's an old Mongol phrase, that loosely translated, means 'when you're on top, everyone likes to agree with you.'"

I shall miss him.

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