Anthony Malcolm Conway – Chanania Meir ben Gershon HaKohen – was born on 5 September 1935 (7 Ellul 5695) and passed away on 24 March 2023 (2 Nissan 5783).
a perfect gentleman
My father’s bar mitzvah sedra was Shoftim. The beginning of Parashat Shoftim reads, “You shall place/appoint judges and officers at/in all your gates”. A metaphorical interpretation is that you should regulate the use of your five senses. My father’s behaviour was very measured. He was never angry. He spoke calmly, but he was firm when necessary. He did not engage in gossip. My father was a mensch, a perfect gentleman, in all respects. It is now incumbent on me to emulate that quality to the best of my ability. “In a place (the void left by my father) where there are no menschen, make a conscious effort to be a mensch.”
Ellul, the month in which my father was born, is an auspicious time for teshuvah. According to Reb Zusya of Hanipoli, the “T” of “teshuvah” stands for a verse from Parashat Shoftim (my father’s bar mitzvah sedra):
“Tamim tihyeh im Hashem Elokecha”.
“You shall be sincere/earnest with the Lord your G-d”.
My father was a very sincere person, who had a deep religious commitment. He had a good relationship with the clerk to the licensing justices, and he was normally able to arrange for his licensing cases to be heard first on Friday afternoon, so that he could get home in time for Shabbat.
My father practised as a solicitor for fifty years until his retirement in 2010. He was well liked and highly respected by clients and colleagues alike.
“A good name is better than good oil”.
In Ethics of the Fathers, Rabbi Shimon is quoted as saying that there are three crowns, namely the crown of Torah, the crown of priesthood, and the crown of kingship, but the crown of a good name surpasses them all. In a way, my father possessed all of these crowns. Torah – he was a devoted Jew. Priesthood – he was a Kohen. Kingship/leadership – My father was the President of the Leeds Law Society, the President of Leeds Jewish Representative Council, and Chair of the Leeds Council of Christians and Jews. He was also involved in Leeds Limmud. He was an alumnus of Bootham School in York. It goes without saying that my father possessed the most important crown, a good reputation.
My father was modest and unassuming. He often managed to achieve results behind the scenes.
Even when my father seemed to be treated badly by others, he accepted his lot. “Who is rich? The person who is happy with their lot.”
My father had a lot of self control. “Who is mighty? The person who suppresses and overcomes their impulse.”