This weekend, Jacob Banda, who had served as DDC president for nine years, died.
In many ways he had a remarkable story. He won his first election, in the year 2000, by a mere four votes. Two years later, he was re-elected by an overwhelming margin, and then was reelected three more times. The secret behind his popularity, and what was not always apparent to outsiders like myself, was his service to his members. He would sometimes spend hours sorting out their problems and listening to their concerns. This comment on Rapaport’s web site says it all:
Mr Banda fought hard for all those who didnt have a voice ..those were the small businessmen who time and time again found themselves being hurt, scammed, or taken advantage of ..he was the general on the front line of their battles. Before Mr Banda took ill, he confided that on his desk at the time he had between 80 million to 100 million dollars worth of such disputes
Apparently, serving as DDC president gave him a political bug – he also ran for mayor of his local town, Kiryas Joel.
The news wasn’t a shock; Jacob had not been well for some time, and for the last few months vice president Moshe Mosbacher has been president in his absence.
In any case, I was very sorry to hear about Jacob and give my condolences to his friends and family. Here is a tribute thread on a Jewish web site.