Father, scholar, Canadian, Jew. Born Sept. 13, 1942, in Timmins, Ont., died Aug. 5, 2013, in Bloomfield, Conn., of pancreatic cancer, aged 70.
There is something special about rare things: uniqueness inspires wonder, and wonder spurs learning.
Lorne Elkin Rozovsky, son of Jewish immigrants from Russia who settled in Saint John 100 years ago, spent his youth in communities where Jews were, indeed, rare.
His father’s job took him from New Brunswick to Timmins, Ont., where Lorne was born, and to Asbestos, Que. But the family returned often to the Maritimes, and to Pamdenec, N.B., an area between the CP Rail tracks and the Saint John River. There, from the 1920s through the 1960s, some 50 Jewish families built summer cottages.
This seasonal community, with all of its warm-day festivities (it was also a place where families could easily keep Shabbat), brought back family members who had moved on to jobs in Toronto, Montreal, and even New York, year after year.
Lorne’s memories of these summer vacations were among the reasons he always considered it his home, and why he recently donated $25,000 to the Saint John Jewish Historical Museum.
His childhood experiences as a “rarity” – the only Jewish boy in town – may have been the source of his lifelong passion for Jewish history, tradition and practice. He spent countless hours researching sometimes idiosyncratic topics. He was always full of ideas and questions, and loved to discuss them, seeking out others’ thoughts and opinions. He had tremendous respect for intellect and a wide open mind.
Lorne found the perfect outlet to delight in the obscure, writing columns in The Richmond Jewish News and Virginia Jewish Life magazine. Month after month, he came up with new ideas, researching rituals, habits and misnomers and transforming them into informative and fascinating columns. These columns grew into regular contributions to chabad.org.
While he served as president of Temple Beth El, a conservative congregation in Richmond, Va., Lorne thrived on engagement with Jews of all traditions, and had many deep ecumenical friendships as well.
Lorne moved to the United States in 1993, but always loved his native Canada. A graduate of the University of New Brunswick and University of Toronto law school, he had a distinguished career in health law that included serving as legal counsel to the ministry of health in Nova Scotia, and faculty member of the schools of law, medicine and dentistry at Dalhousie University. He was the only Canadian named an honorary fellow for life by the American College of Legal Medicine.
He was instrumental in founding the Health Law Institute and wrote 18 books on health law, including The Canadian Patient’s Book of Rights and Canadian Hospital Law. They serve as texts in law schools across North America today.
His deep interest in patient rights and health care risk management is shared by his wife, Fay, herself a lawyer with a master’s degree in public health from Harvard. Their two accomplished children, Aaron and Josh, were a constant source of pride for Lorne.
“A well-written life is almost as rare as a well-spent one,” Scottish philosopher Thomas Carlyle said. Lorne was blessed on both counts.
Allie Vered was a friend of Lorne’s.