Saturday, November 21, 2009

Joe Tadelman -A Man to Remember

I had planned on starting High School sports week with a story about an exciting program or player to watch in the world of Jewish High School sports. But last week I got a phone call from my mother that a very dear friend of ours passed away. Joe Tadelman was a Jewish sports legend in Chicago. As a former coach at Kelvyn Park and Kelly High School, Joe inspired hundreds of athletes to be their best. One of those students was my mother.

It seems only fitting that this week starts off with a story about Joe because for a long time he was high school sports in Chicago. Even when I played, refs and coaches knew Joe, and this was many years after he had retired. Joe had that affect on people. He was able to make you notice him with his big smile, his warm hugs, and his love of life that you just felt when you met him.

Joe was around in my life ever since I was a child. I knew him as my mother's mentor, the director of Golden Arrow Day Camp (a camp I went to at a young age), and most importantly as one of the most gentle souls this world has ever seen. Joe founded Golden Arrow Day Camp which employed hundreds of young students looking to make a buck and helped families afford summer camp. It wasn't anything fancy but it had heart. I loved that camp. There isn't a day that I pass a Forrest preserve and don't think how lucky I was to go to a camp that was simple and felt like family.

Joe also was one of the founders of Bnai Brith Sports Lodge. Bnai Brith has given scholarships and awards to many Jewish athletes and has provided a place for Jews to connect through sport.

But besides all that Joe accomplished in his life, the thing I knew Joe the most for was his love for life. He was sick for many years but that did not stop him from living, from smiling, and from trying. I am a better person for having known such a wonderful man. This world has lost a special person. A person that Chicagoans, Jews, and everyone he ever came across should be proud of.

If this blog has given me anything, it has given me a place to write about a special person. One that everyone should have had the privilege to have known and one we should all celebrate and remember.

May Joe's life have been for a blessing.
And Let Us Say...Amen.
-Jeremy Fine


  1. Where did you get the picture of Caryn? He was an amazing man, whom I loved dearly. But, I was not alone, everybody loved him. He will truly be missed.

  2. Joe was the brother of one of my uncles by marriage, Al Tadelman. I knew Joe, both as a child (I also went to Golden Arrow) and as as an adult, when I worked in Northbrook and he lived in Deerfield. I also knew his son Rick, who I understand has been a coach in Chicago high schools for years, when we were both students at Deerfield High School. Rick and I were not really cousins--we had shared cousins--but I remember him kindly introducing a shy new student at DHS as his cousin. The son is a great guy as the father was. Edelmenschen. Alan Lenhoff