Robert Benjamin, A Tribute : In Memory Of My Brother

Rabbi Nat Benjamin
One of the only images I have of Robert as a teenage

My brother Robert and I were close despite the ten year difference between us. As a child he displayed a great love of music, literature as well as a great aptitude for science and mathematics. He shared these with me as an older brother and teacher.  I find my love and aptitude for music was his gift to me. He took me everywhere: baseball, football and basketball games and to concerts and the opera.  My memories of our camaraderie are as vivid today as when I was eight years old.

 During his first year in college my brother Robert experienced what we now refer to as a nervous breakdown. He spent the remaining years of his life being treated for schizophrenia in hospitals and nursing homes. With mental illness parents do not know what to do to seek effective treatment and Robert’s condition worsened continually. As a child, I always grew up hoping that my older brother would return to a normal life with school, leading to an occupation and eventually a normal family life but such was not meant to be.  As years went by I visited him weekly in assorted nursing homes and psychiatric facilities. Robert passed away in April at the age of eighty four.  My strongest regret is that he had an unhappy life. But when I think of my childhood years I remember how much he gave me.

Rabbi Nat Benjamin
Celebrating Robert’s Birthday in 2018