York alumnus, victim of a bomb attack, remembered as a sensitive counsellor

A York alumnus who had moved to Israel in the 1990s was one of 11 people killed in a suicide bombing on the number 19 bus in Jerusalem on Jan. 29. Yehezkel (“Scotty”) Goldberg (right), 41, graduated from York with a BA in French Studies in 1985.

Goldberg grew up in Toronto and, after graduating from high school, served in the Canadian army. He then came to York where he was active in the Jewish Students’ Network. Following his education at York, Goldberg trained as a psychologist in the United States. For the last eight years, Goldberg worked with troubled teenagers.

Right: Yehezkel (Scotty) Goldberg with his infant son last spring in Israel

He specialized in teenagers with drug and alcohol problems, mostly from immigrant families. Goldberg was also a columnist for the New York-based Jewish Press and his syndicated column provided advice to North American families on immigration to Israel. He also hosted an English language radio show on Israel’s “Channel Seven” radio service.

Goldberg acquired a reputation as a sensitive counsellor for troubled youth and was often invited to lecture on issues relating to teens and their parents. He recently testified before a committee of the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) about the problems that teenage children of immigrants from western countries like Canada and the United States face in Israel.

Suri Epstein Rosen (BA ’83) remembers Goldberg well from the 1980s, when Epstein Rosen attended York with Goldberg. “He was an extremely warm and down to earth man, with an infectious sense of humour,” said Rosen. “He devoted his life to making this world a better place to live. He was somebody who really made a difference in people’s lives.”

Professor Martin Lockshin, director of the Centre for Jewish Studies at York, has fond memories of Goldberg, whom he taught in the early 1980s. “Yehezkel was a friendly, bright and outgoing young man, interested in everything,” said Lockshin. “He majored in history but at York he acquired a broad liberal arts education, taking courses in Hebrew, French, mathematics, computer science and even our political science course, War and Peace in the Middle East. I was delighted, but not surprised to learn about his many accomplishments after leaving York. His death is a tragic loss.”

In the last few years Goldberg wrote often about political issues in Israel. In December of 2001 he wrote a particularly moving article entitled “If You Don’t Cry, Who Will,” in which he criticized the reactions of many Israelis to suicide bombings. He wrote in part: “When an attack happens, in the heat of the moment we frantically check to see if someone we know has been hurt or killed. And then if we find that ‘our friends and our family are safe,’ we sigh a deep sigh of relief…and then continue with our robotic motions and go on with our lives. We have not lost our minds, my friends. We have lost our hearts.”

Killed on the bus on his way to work, Goldberg is survived by his wife and seven children who live in a Jerusalem suburb. He also leaves behind his mother, two sisters and two brothers who live in the Greater Toronto Area, and one sister who lives in Washington, D.C. Several members of the extended family have also studied at York.