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The Life of Jonathan “Yoni” Gottesman

Yoni Gottesman was almost 5 years old when he died. But in his short life he packed in so much. Yoni was excited by all the things he learned in preschool, and he looked forward to attending school with his friends. He loved to jump on the trampoline and play soccer, and he was very proud of his first belt in karate. And he especially loved going to the zoo to visit the animals. Yoni’s precocious musical ability amazed those who knew him. At three, he already was playing the drums and guitar. Yoni’s love of music came from his father, and they frequently played together. Yoni was blessed with a loving family, including his parents, Anat and Oded, and his older sister, Daniela. They were a tight-knit family that shared many things.

Yoni was a precocious, inquisitive little boy. As one friend put it:

“Yoni was one of a kind. He was an exceptionally strong, outgoing boy, never afraid to ask questions or too shy to make himself heard. You always knew when Yoni entered a room. Always the leader of the group, he delighted in any challenge. Yoni was smart, affectionate, exuberant, inquisitive, beautiful, and a caring son, brother and friend. By the age of three, he was proficient at speaking and understanding both English and Hebrew.”

But Yoni’s accomplishments do not tell the whole story. His smile was infectious – you could not help but smile in return. Along with his big smile came a big heart; he had an aura and charisma about him that immediately charmed everyone he met and filled their hearts with joy. Yoni was a good friend, not only to children his age, but to everyone he knew. And, he was exceptionally thoughtful and caring; his everyday actions reflected his deep love for his family and friends. Yoni’s love of people, and the love he received from so many in return, filled the lives of everyone around him with joy and love.

Video Montage of Yoni
Yoni's Life Video

Yoni, Mommy and DanielaYoni was at his most exuberant at school. Two of Yoni’s teachers at Montessori Center School wrote of him: Click Here for Speech from Denise and CarlaAcrobat Reader

Here is the Memoriam that appeared in The Independent: Click Here Acrobat Reader

The parent of a little boy Yoni met only once fondly recalled how she and her son sat with Yoni at a puppet show about pirates:

“Every time something funny would happen Yoni would let out this amazing giggle and my son and I would laugh at how sweet and funny it sounded. It happened over and over until Yoni eventually caught on to the fact that my son was getting a kick out of hearing him giggle and then it turned into game that had them both laughing like crazy.

When we heard about Yoni, my son wanted to see a picture of him as he could not remember his name. When I showed him he said, "Oh that's the laughing boy.

We will miss your laughing boy.”

But perhaps the most poignant story of Yoni comes from his father:

Yoni and Daddy“Yoni, my son, my buddy, my life. I can’t tell you how much we miss you. You filled our family and our lives with so much joy, happiness, energy, and love of life and people. You gave us all so much love, affection, and joy. You cared about so many friends – boys, girls, and adults. You touched them and gave love to them. You taught us all to grasp the funny and happy side of every moment. You were always open-minded and eager to learn and know more and more, which you always did with patience, wisdom, and joy. You loved music, science, tradition, sports, books, movies, jokes, and so much more. You ate life with a full mouth, and you wanted even more. You had that magic inside you, which made so many people happy and love you. I am glad we gave you so much, but there was so much more we wanted to give you. Yoni, I am so proud to be your Dad; Mommy and Daniela are so proud of you, too. I know I told you that a million times, but I’ll never stop telling you that all my life."

Love, Daddy, Mommy, and Daniela



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Yoni and Daniela