Standing Ovation for John Adler at his Funeral Today

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John could stand on the edge of a great divide and look for where a bridge needed to be built.

                  – John Adler’s brother-in-law, from his eulogy

Congressman-elect John AdlerThere was a standing ovation for John Adler today at his funeral. It was called by his brother-in-law who’s in show business on the West Coast. In his business, he said, when people do very well, we give them a standing ovation. In the vast sanctuary of Temple Emanuel in Cherry Hill, everyone stood.

Of course, many were already standing. Temple Emanuel was jammed, probably straining the Cherry Hill fire marshal’s restrictions, and the sanctuary was standing-room-only, as were several overflow rooms inside, and the crowd spilled outside into the parking lot.

“First time I saw John, he was dancing with a refrigerator,” began the story told by Adler’s  law school roommate and best man at his wedding. A lot of the stories told reflected both deep affection for him, and warm appreciation for his merry view of life. The service had its moments of both laughter and tears. And it was well attended both by those whose  politics he shared, and by well-respected Republicans with whom he differed. All there to pay tribute to the man that was “just John” to wife Shelley and their four boys.

The rabbi gave the blessing in Hebrew for those ” who serve in public office”, calling him a “mensch”. He gave that term’s definition as nothing more than a man much loved and respected by all. He told a story about John listening to the youngest member of a contingent lobbying for his support of Israel, listening intently. That John took the time to listen so closely made a real difference to that young woman.

In the spirit of Adler’s sense of humor, his brother-in-law apologized for blowing his nose into his yarmulke, as he cried. He told the story of playing John in Trivial Pursuit, that it was like going up against Google itself.

In fact, I found out today, John auditioned for Jeopardy and was accepted. But he was bumped for knowing someone who worked as an attorney at ABC. He didn’t even know the man well, it was somebody he went to law school with, but he could not lie. “John was the greatest Jeopardy champion who never appeared on the show,” said his wife’s brother, laughing.

Today, John Adler was remembered as a man never took himself too seriously, who loved “really stupid” movies. His son talked about how he loved what he called Italian-American sociological study, which is how he referred to Jersey Shore.

The Adler family asks that if individuals wish to make a donation in John Adler’s name, they would appreciate contributions to Cooper University Hospital and University of Pennsylvania Hospital. Both tried to save his life. John Adler was just 51. Rest in Peace.

Comments (4)

  1. The Wizard

    His life was gentle

    And the elements so mixed in him

    That Nature might stand up

    And say to all the world, “This was a man.”

  2. jaykeesler

    I was there, with my son who worked for his campaign over the summer.  It was a great and moving tribute to a great man who could have done anything in life, and chose to serve this great State and the people he loved, and in doing so made it a better place. I met John as a young law clerk in 2000.  Ever since when ever I saw him at the court house, he always would make sure he came over and said hello.  I was a nobody, but he always made you feel like the most important person in the world.

    Today we heard so many great stories about him,  showing sides that most there did not know. I know my son and I will never be able to watch Jersey Shore again, without thinking about him.  

    I was so happy to see all of the people who were there to say good bye and show their thanks for his service to our State and Nation.  We have lost a great man, and my heart  and prayers go out to his family.  

  3. SmartyJones

    for your heartfelt reporting.

    I didn’t know John Adler, but I know he was taken from this earth far too soon.

    One phrase and one word in your diary stood out for me.

    When we say good bye to someone dear to us, it should always be “through tears and laughter.”

    And I can think of no higher praise than to be called a “mensch.”

  4. Babs NJSD

    I don’t know how many people said that about John at his funeral, but that was my first thought about him as I wiped away my tears when I first heard about his most untimely passing.

    As I listened to people talk about him, including the woman sitting next to me, a neighbor of his who gave his children music lessons, I realized how “real” John Adler was, how he was universally perceived to all the people he touched.

    Brilliant, tough, compassionate, down to earth, funny, honest.  


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