In memoriam : Prof. Shimshon Baron
We all still nurse our grief for the unexpected and untimely death of Prof. Shimshon Baron. His life may definitely be split into very strict periods.
He grew up as a child in independent Estonia. Then came the Soviet occupation, accompanied with the loss of close people (among them Prof. Krushkal’s family, sent to Siberia), the inability to move to Israel and then World War II. The first post-war years, when his father died rather young, also belong to that period. Then a fateful advice of somebody that in order to observe Shabbat one doesn't have to be a watchmaker (as Shimshon did) but can also be a mathematician, led to the next period of his life.
He started a career in Soviet mathematics, first as a student and later as a distinguished lecturer and scientist. A lot happened in his life during those years: results, publications, students, editorship – and, more importantly of course – family and children. However, having been brought up by his father on teachings of Tanach and Zionism (Tel-Chai among them), he took a precious opportunity to move to Israel and got a permission to leave at the end of the 1970-s.
Most of Shimshon's Israeli period of active work was related to Bar-Ilan University. He insisted on moving to live in Jerusalem, although it was not very convenient for him to commute to the university. He used to say that there are two types of people among the Jews who made Aliya to Israel when already grown up, having been able to observe Judaism before. Some thought that, given their tremendous efforts in the past, they can now ease down and relax in Israel. Others (and he certainly considered himself among them) felt that once in Israel one must scale up one's efforts and observe the commandments of Torah even more strictly.
The main difference between his work while at Bar-Ilan and his work after retirement was that he did not have to physically come to his office or to give classes. In all other respects he continued his previous life: worked on new results, published papers with new ideas and results, and reviewed papers for Math Reviews. In fact, the main reasons that he lost his love of life during his last days in the hospital was the inability to keep his mathematical work, as well as the inability to join his family for the Passover Seder. For him, these were of extreme importance.
Yehi Zichro Baruch.
Ron Adin, Elijah Liflyand
There are some kinds of loose connections between the topics of
Shimshon's mathematical research and mine, and now I can only regret
that we did not find the time and opportunity to see, together, if they
could be somehow combined.
I feel very privileged to have been Shimshon's friend, and to have
experienced on many occasions his special gentleness, abundant good will
and quiet dignity. I also benefitted from his patience and careful
attention to every little detail, for example in matters of editing.
It was my pleasure to have been able to be with him and his family and
friends and colleagues on various occasions of celebration. I also
treasure his cheerful voice and kind blessings via the telephone, so
many times. It is so very sad that he is no longer with us. May all of
us, first and foremost his dear family, draw strength from all that was
so good and sweet about him. We will remember him very very fondly. It
will be good if we can emulate at least some of his many qualities.
Y'hi Zikhro Barukh.