Dave Kashtan

Eulogy delivered at memorial for Dave Kashtan at the Winchevsky Centre, December 12, 2003

I am grateful to be able to say a few words about my beloved friend, Dave. My name is Miriam Garfinkle and my parents, Jimmy and Sarah Garfinkle, were close friends of Dave and Rose and I knew Dave all my life. Dave and Rose first met my parents’ in 1938. The Kashtans had recently arrived to Toronto from Montreal and they met Sarah and Jimmy at my mothers’ parents’ house at a Bethune Club fundraising social event for Spanish Civil War. From that time on their friendship grew and deepened including their close involvement in the Rosenberg defence. Although they sometime had differences, they all shared a basic socialistic humanitarian outlook.

My fondest memory of Dave and Rose was their regular visit to my home on Friday nights during my adolescence. My parents would go through this ritual of asking the Kashtans over, every single Friday night after dinner and lo and behold, the Kashtans would predictably accept the invitation, and this would go on week after week. I would return from an evening with friends or from my youth group meeting, and be welcomed warmly by the foursome. They would listen with intense and loving interest and with respect, to all my ideas, whether my participation in the California grape boycott or my passion for Israeli folkdancing. These moments shine in my memory.

I lost touch with Dave after my father died in 1984, following my mother's death in 1975. We reunited after he tracked me down after coming across an article in the Star written about me in 2000. We saw each other quite regularly after that and he shared his precious memoirs with me, which he dedicated himself to in his later years. If they are published, and I truly hope they are, they will be an enormous contribution to an important chapter in Canadian history.

He shopped with me with glee for toys for my new medical office in Regent Park. He cooked an amazing salmon dinner and we reminisced and shared our views on the politics of the day especially our hope for peace In the Middle East. I had the special honour with his friend Karen, of being with him in his last hours and he maintained his stately handsome presence to the end; his humour as well, laughing at me when I blew my nose.

I cherish the intersection of my life with Dave’s I especially feel very fortunate that we reunited in his last years and miss and will continue to miss him deeply in my life.

Miriam Garfinkle
December 2003