Your Enchanted Gardener Passes
Your Enchanted Gardener, AKA Leslie Goldman, transitioned on June 18, 2020. This is his niece's moving eulogy to her beloved "Uncle Leslie" posted today, the 5th month anniversary of his passing.
Date: 11/18/2020 11:19:02 PM ( 22 mon ) ... viewed 1126 times
Leslie Goldman and niece Eva Becker
MY UNCLE LESLIE
Dear Cherished Enchanted Garden Followers,
My name is Eva Becker and I am the niece of Leslie Allan Goldman, A”H (Hebrew, “May peace be upon him”). On June 18, 2020, Leslie transitioned to the next world. He left us early in the morning and was buried the next day in the Jewish Tradition in Los Angeles with his beloved father, Rabbi Solomon Goldman, z’l and mother Anna Goldman, z’l (Hebrew, "of Blessed Memory"). It is most interesting to me that for a man who spent most of his life veering away from his roots, Leslie ended up back where he started, near Boyle Heights with his family.
I was the closest person from our family to Uncle Leslie and therefore, the loss has been very blunt and hard for me to process, hence the time it has taken for me to write this essay to you announcing his passing. You see, I was the bridge between him and the rest of the family and tried very hard to bring everyone together.
My Uncle Leslie was very dear to me. We had a lot in common. We were both single, thriving and pursuing our dreams. We never cared what walk of life a person came from, as long as they had integrity. My grandfather, Rabbi Solomon Goldman, A”H, was the same way, as was my grandmother, Anna Goldman, A”H who was known for her kindness in bringing food to hungry people in Boyle Heights. Leslie lost his mother when he was 12 years old which had a huge impact on his life; his father lived well into his nineties.
Uncle Leslie very much wanted to be part of our family, to take his place as Grampa’s son, yet it was so very challenging for him because he wasn’t particularly religious in any one sort of way; he was all encompassing and manifested his spirituality through plants which the family had a hard time relating to. Plants were safe. They couldn’t harm you and that is why I think Uncle Leslie befriended them. You see, several key people in Uncle Leslie’s formidable years had harmed him, not intentionally, but rather because of their limitations and their inability to relate to a unique person of such sensitivity, character and sincere intention. Hence, Leslie never really “fit in”, and even though he wanted to, he never would. He came to accept this through his work and love for the planet and the people on it.
THE EARLY YEARS--GETTING TO KNOW UNCLE LESLIE
My earliest memory of Uncle Leslie was when he used to show up for Passover. I must have been 5 or 6 at the time. I was wearing a blue dress and was twirling around and around to show off how pretty it was. I think he snapped some pictures of me and my siblings. He wore very funny clothes and smelled pretty weird. Over the years, he came to our house with various different women who also looked very strange to me- having wild hair, loose clothing and a strange way of speaking, which Leslie called “communication”. Nonetheless, I was very excited when he came and pulled up in his orange buggy, to which my siblings and I yelled out to our Mom and Dad, “Uncle Leslie is here!”
We would immediately run outside to see what treasures he had in his trunk and what he had brought us and wondered what he was doing laying down in the back of his car. He came in limping with lots of books and materials and seeds and gave us bottles to smell and herbs to rub on our bellies.
Since I was the cleanest and most organized in the family, I was the one who usually gave up my room and bed when he visited. In the early morning, my sister and brothers would wake Uncle Leslie up by jumping on his bed as most nieces and nephews do. We were very curious. On one particular morning, I remember Uncle Leslie took out a pencil and paper and drew a picture of a circle and put a dot in the middle. He asked us, “Which part of this picture is whole”? My siblings and I stared at him perplexed. He proceeded to explain to us that the circle with the dot in the middle was a plant with a kernel inside and that we needed to eat the WHOLE plant, including the middle kernel so that we could be HEALTHY and WHOLE and be close to Hashem (Hebrew name for G-d). We thought he was nuts. My sister was afraid to go to his room. My little brother ran away. My parents, to their credit, always welcomed Uncle Leslie. Personally, I really didn’t mind my strange uncle; rather, I found him quite intriguing.
The next memory I have was traveling to Escondido to Hidden Valley Ranch, aka, Dr. Jenson’s Ranch. Apparently, Uncle Leslie had spent a lot of time “healing” there. I heard this word a lot from Uncle Leslie over the years, “I did a lot of healing today”. He was always talking about the importance of healing which made me wonder what he was healing from and when would he finish healing already?
This lady read my eyes which later I found out was called the practice of Iridology. She told me that I was creative and liked to sing (all true) and I wondered who told her. I walked through a freezing pool filled with rainwater. They said it was good for my circulation, which I thought had something to do with the circus. It was so cold, yet I challenged myself to go in. I think I was the only one of my three siblings to do it. We then went to this amazing farm in Escondido. It had cows and bulls. We ate seedless yellow watermelon and bugs from blackberry bushes, to which my mother screamed, “Leslie, don’t feed the kids bugs!” Apparently, Uncle Leslie liked bugs very much and thought it was okay to eat them.
DURING THE 1990’S
Over the years, Uncle Leslie continued to show up intermittently, for Passovers and for some other family events, such as my brother’s bar mitzvah. When I was 18, I went to Israel and connected with our Aunt Rita, my grandfather’s sister. She had been close to Uncle Leslie when he was young. I truly enjoyed my time in Israel, the land of my people, and when I got back I told Uncle Leslie all about it. He asked me what I was planning on doing next and if I was going to go to college to which I answered, “of course”.
Uncle Leslie was always interested in what I was doing. I told him of my interest in wanting to become a physical therapist and asked him if he could help me write my college admission’s personal statement. He quickly wrote it and was able to convey exactly what I wanted to say on paper. He portrayed my true essence. It was remarkable. I believe that because of his letter, I was one out of 40 students admitted into the PT program at Cal State University Northridge (CSUN). Being an exceptional listener, Uncle Leslie had a way of paraphrasing words into exactly what you were trying to say. As it turned out, I ended up graduating from CSUN with a Bachelor’s in Health Science and pursued a credential in Biology and a Master’s in Education Administration and have been teaching high school science for the last 25 years at LAUSD.
CSUN was also Uncle Leslie’s Alma Mater. He was quite active at college. Leslie was in the journalism club, on the field as an assistant to the football team, and protested during the Vietnam war. He was known as a rebel with a cause, or some would say, a “hippie”. He also attended UCLA, but preferred CSUN. In those days CSUN was called San Fernando Valley State College. Uncle Leslie graduated with a Master’s in Journalism.
My Uncle Leslie and I grew closer when I moved out of my parent’s home and took my own apartment at age 24. Uncle Leslie used to come visit me and stay over for a couple of nights from time to time. We would talk about all sorts of things, his struggle with his father and religion, his advanced arthritis and especially his work, including his writings, conferences, photography and advertising. I would share my challenges and aspirations and Uncle Leslie was always very supportive. He brought plants, fruits and veggies into my life and lots of organic watermelon, which was his favorite, along with avocado sandwiches. We shared very good times in my apartment.
UNCLE LESLIE COMES TO MY CLASSROOM!
Around the year 2010, I started inviting Uncle Leslie into my classroom to talk about his “Plant Your Dream” vision. He introduced “Keep the Beet Media Star” and “How to Grow a Healthier Pizza” made with Kamut ancient wheat; Leslie had the students grind up the Kamut in a coffee grinder. We did some planting of seeds at our own school garden, where Leslie introduced the students to the importance of composting.
Leslie soon became known as everyone’s “Uncle Leslie” and my students asked when he would be coming back. They wrote him beautiful letters thanking him for coming. His famous sunflower poster with all the students’ signatures still hangs in my office until today. I had a whole “Uncle Leslie” wall in my classroom with all of his paraphernalia, including information on CA Prop 37, as well as “support your local farmers” and “label GMOs” bumper stickers. I remember one administrator saying, “I like Uncle Leslie, he is always welcome here”.
Leslie participated in the school-wide health and medical affairs that I put on for the entire student body. He set up a “Plant Your Dream” booth and interacted with the students, inspiring their passions and dreams for their own futures. It was amazing to me just how captivated my students were with his presentation. After all, for a typical high-fashioned/ jean wearing teen, he looked kinda funny with his lopsided hat and abstract ideas. Uncle Leslie had the innate ability to connect with children and young adults through story-telling, through creating common ground and by relating his own personal experiences in ways they saw relevant to their own lives.
VISITING WITH LESLIE IN SAN DIEGO @ THE ENCHANTED GARDEN
When I was thirty-five, I lost my beloved father, Simcha Yaakov ben Moshe Yitzchak, A’H of Blessed Memory. He was my whole life and I was his “Cookie”. That was my nickname. Times were tough and Uncle Leslie was there for me. Uncle Leslie was part of my grieving and healing process. We were on the phone together for hours sharing my loss and pouring out my heart.
By this time, my grandfather, Rabbi Solomon Goldman, A”H, (Leslie and my Mom’s father) was well into his nineties and he had asked me to keep tabs on Uncle Leslie and to make sure he was okay. I started visiting Uncle Leslie on long weekends and whenever I could get away from the district. I shared my relationships with him and he shared his. His friends became my friends and vice versa. We hung out together in San Diego, went to Jacumba Hot Springs to soak and even went back to visit Hidden Valley Ranch for an overnight.
I always felt it was very important to keep up with my Uncle Leslie and I made him a priority in my life. He was very profound and shared an immense amount of wisdom and intuition from which I benefited. I also felt as though I was a continuum of my grandmother, Anna Goldman, A’H and that she had spiritually nudged and guided me to be close to him. And for this reason, I have always had Uncle Leslie’s back and best interest at heart. Uncle Leslie once told me, “Eva, I always knew that you would play an integral part of my life in later years and that you would be there for me.”
The most fun part of coming down to SD was going to the Hillcrest Farmers market on Sundays with Uncle Leslie and meeting all the people he networked with. He took such beautiful pictures of the vendors and their produce and he was kinda the icon/ idol over there. I am sure that they miss him a lot. I met Joe the Farmer and the whole extended Rodriguez family who invited me and Uncle Leslie for Thanksgiving. Uncle Leslie said that they reminded him of his childhood friends, the Roscoe family who lived across the street from his house, growing up in Boyle Heights.
At the market, Uncle Leslie would gather his bounty of fruits and veggies that he would live on all week and barter his advertisement services for food. We would spend hours at the market and at the end I would always get an amazing massage from Morea, his masseuse, who until today is one of my best friends on this planet. I told Uncle Leslie before he passed, the best thing you are leaving me is Morea! G-d Bless Morea’s healing hands.
I loved the holidays at Uncle Leslie’s place on Arosa Street. The house was straight out of some movie; I had never experienced such a place. I especially enjoyed coming down around Thanksgiving, Christmas and News Years. It was always festive and decorative and his housemates were always cooking up something interesting in the kitchen. He loved the season too, starting with his birthday and ending after New Years, as a time to celebrate, create rituals and share time with his loved ones. He always asked me whether I would be coming down to join in the festivities.
We would make a L'Chaim over beet and carrot juice, play music and sing together. One of my favorite memories was hanging out at The World Beat Center next to Balboa Park with Uncle Leslie on multiple New Years’ Eves where we danced to the beats of African drums and had fun watching the fire and belly dancers. Uncle Leslie was always received so warmly by the hostess and was able to speak his message on stage. (Currently, a grant is being written to establish a “Leslie Goldman Enchanted Memorial Garden” in his memory at The World Beat Center- WBC).
Uncle Leslie lived for over 35 years in his intentional community that he called, “The Enchanted Garden”. And even though it was very difficult for Uncle Leslie to live with so many people and to manage the house and everyone’s individual needs, Leslie loved his community and was tied to his home and its surrounding land, the terrain and gardens where he shared his passion for planting vegetables, herbs and dreams. I still see him plucking some spearmint, rubbing it between his hands and saying, “Here Eva, breathe some of this, it’s good for you!”
During my summer breaks and over the course of 15 years, I attended The Optimum Health Institute (OHI) in Lemon Grove, CA. It was Uncle Leslie who was the impetus for me to go and check it out. At OHI, I learned about conscious eating and living, wheat grass, colonics and more. Uncle Leslie participated alongside. He would sneak in on Saturdays and hang out in my room just to talk and watch me at the Friday Night Live Show where I would sing (before Sabbath). Uncle Leslie always produced a big fat juicy organic watermelon which he would eat more than half of in one sitting. Boy did he love watermelon.
CANCER & COVID HITS HARD- SPRING 2020
Tim Robbins says that true happiness is progress. Even though our accomplishments may be difficult, once we are done, we can take a step back and say, "Awww, that was worth it!" That was my Uncle Leslie. Prepping for his conferences was very difficult for him, as was the process of presenting onstage, yet Uncle Leslie truly loved every minute of it and it made him SO SO HAPPY. Uncle Leslie thrived at sharing and making connections with people. His conferences were a highlight for him and he was on a high for months afterwards. Leslie lived for the next fix, not the kind you smoke, but rather live. His fix was to reach people and make connections, to be heard and be accepted, and to be loved. And of course to have center stage (which sometimes got him into trouble).
When Covid-19 hit, a huge part of Uncle Leslie shut down. He couldn’t meet with people to share, plan, collaborate or travel or even have outside guests in the house. By this time, the cancer had spread, despite him trying every supplement he knew of to halt it. It was during this time that Uncle Leslie started to lose his ambition and became tired of juicing marijuana and drinking greens. He wanted his sourdough bread, raw garlic and sprouted-hummus. He wanted to roam the Hillcrest Farmers market taking pictures and talking to people in the stalls, not lie in bed and be locked up in his house; but his strength was waning. Uncle Leslie came home from the Heirloom Festival up in Santa Rosa last year disappointed and upset and felt that people had not received him well. His ambition shut down, as his rebellious cancer cells took over.
I saw his process, but I was told to back off and respectfully, I did. For close to three years, I suffered as I watched Uncle Leslie slowly decline and join the Circus to play with the clowns. I asked him how his scans were, and he evaded my questions. I asked him how his protocols were going and he said "coming along". He shut me out and it hurt.
I learned that he did this to many people who he felt would undermine his efforts to treat his cancer and shrink it with alternative measures. But for the record, I was never against his alternative measures. I wanted him to cut the 3-cm toxic invader out of his body and to continue all of the health protocols he was doing, including drinking his own urine, if he so desired. I told him not to dance with the devil. He said, “That’s an interesting way of putting it.”
Uncle Leslie continued to travel and work with his partner, Adrienne, and present at conferences and events. I told him to slow down. He couldn’t and wouldn’t. To this day, I really do not understand his MO or why he chose NOT to take more of an integrative approach to his cancer, when that is what he studied under the direct tutelage and guidance of Dr. Jenson who saved his life when he almost died as a young man, paralyzed in bed with toxins all over his body and joints.
It perturbed me to no end and made my mother cry. I am still somewhat pissed at him for his denial and poor end of life planning, yet I find my love for him overrides any negative emotions and I am learning to let go. It is a process and I am on the learning curve.
As a person who suffered from debilitating and painful ankylosing spondylitis, my reflective and deeper understanding is that Uncle Leslie was tired of his body that gave him so much trouble all of his life and was ready to shed it. It must have been so freeing for him to leave his physical shell and enter the spiritual realm. Now he is finally free to travel the universe.
LESSONS LEARNED- FROM MY UNCLE LESLIE
This is hard to enumerate in one essay, yet I shall try. One particular trait of Uncle Leslie definitely stands out. Uncle Leslie did not own his disability. He never even considered himself disabled, rather his approach was to work with what he had. Uncle Leslie was an exquisite writer, thinker and creator. Uncle Leslie did more in his lifetime than many “able-bodied” people you and I know of. I never saw Uncle Leslie give up. His tenacious personality served him well and he was able to function and achieve his goals because of it.
Uncle Leslie also taught me about the importance of establishing and keeping good relationships. He had wonderful relationships, as evidenced by all who love and have followed him throughout the years and the hundreds of people who participated in his end of life transition (on Zoom and Facebook).
Communication was of utmost importance to Uncle Leslie. It was important to him for you to know he cared and appreciated your contribution. He sought to understand a person and would establish trust so that open communication would flow. And if he had a problem with you, he would tell you and create an open and honest dialogue about it until the issue was resolved and kind words were exchanged.
Uncle Leslie had other keen qualities, such as his ability to listen and his ability to fully empathize with another person. It was almost like he could crawl under your skin to experience what you were going through firsthand; such was his sensitivity and the concern that Uncle Leslie had for others. Uncle Leslie was a gentle and pure soul, a peacenik, and had the best intentions for everyone he interacted with. He was an eloquent speaker and invoked a kindness of common spirit, peace,and love into people.
Leslie Allan Goldman, A”H was A MENSCH (a good man). He was a Human Doer and activist by nature. Leslie could not sit still and watch the farmers be screwed over by the government, or have Big Pharma take over, or have children suffer needlessly by being exposed to GMO's. He took responsibility for this personally. Uncle Leslie flew to Washington to confront the USDA Agricultural Assembly to fight for what he thought was right. During the war on Prop 37 (California Proposition 37, Mandatory Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food --2012), he rallied endlessly for the FDA to take responsibility by labeling all food that had GMO's in their ingredients.
Leslie Goldman was about GROWTH, RENEWAL, PROGRESSION and finding one’s purpose. Nothing made Uncle Leslie happier than when I was living my true best self. And so, as I write this, I would like to share with you that I am currently up in Santa Rosa, CA at True North Health Center working on ME, Eva Becker. I have just completed a 14-day water fast and am now eating a vegan and plant-based SOS FREE diet (no Salt, Oil or Sugar).
When I got here, I couldn’t walk or breathe too well, but now I am much better, thank G-d. I have seen doctors and naturopaths, chiropractors and other health professionals who are assisting me on my health team. I am extremely grateful for this experience.
The edema in my leg is much better and I have lost about 25 pounds of inflammation. I still have a long way to go and need all of the strength and blessings to achieve my goal of losing another 75 pounds.
I know that Uncle Leslie is very proud of me. I am taking the integrative approach to my health and wellness and drawing from all the disciplines and their wisdom which I can truly appreciate as a science teacher. I would like to think that Uncle Leslie guided me here since ironically, this was Uncle Leslie’s annual stomping grounds as he made his trek up North to the National Heirloom Exposition each year that was held on the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. The last thing Leslie said to me in his room was, “Doors will open up for you” and I believe him.
In closing, the Torah says that if you save one person, you save a whole generation. Furthermore, if you believe that one person can affect the world and make a change, you are a righteous person. On these premises, Uncle Leslie was truly a righteous man. Uncle Leslie planted people’s dreams and HIS LEGACY IS THE FRUITION OF THOSE DREAMS. So, I beseech you, every one of you reading this post, to go out there and make it happen. Follow your dreams and the intentions that you set for yourselves!
Because Uncle Leslie’s TRUE LEGACY is YOU. ALL OF YOU. My Uncle had a profound purpose, and that was to inspire others to PLANT THEIR DREAMS AND FOLLOW THEIR OWN PURPOSE. You are the scribbles of dreams written on scraps of paper planted in pots and the ripened fruits of his hard labor.
I hope that you find these words and sentiments a testimony to who Uncle Leslie was and that they convey the breadth and scope of what my Uncle Leslie has meant to me in my lifetime. Uncle Leslie was my friend, mentor, confidant, brother, and my soundboard. His imperfections made him HUMAN. His imperfections made him WHOLE. This is Uncle Leslie.
I would like to suggest that you share a dream that came true because of Uncle Leslie, in a comment to this post. If you would like to respond privately, you may email me at email@example.com
Thank you kindly for reading this post. I look forward to reading your responses and hearing your stories.
IN THE MERIT OF UNCLE LESLIE--A PRAYER
May Leslie’s soul continue to shine in the cosmos for Eternity
May Leslie be a guiding light for us throughout our lives
May all of his MAASIM TOVIM (good deeds and actions) create
an abundance of MAZAL (good fortune) and BRACHA (blessings) for all who knew him
May the genuine LOVE he perpetuated in others grow exponentially and fill up the
Universe with KINDNESS, LOVE, UNDERSTANDING AND PEACE in our TIMES
May the SOUL of Eliezer ben Rav Shlomo & Chana Esther ascend to the highest order
May Leslie Allan Goldman reside in our hearts as a reminder to do good,
and in his merit, May all of our Planted Dreams be Revealed.
LOVE YOU ALWAYS AND FOREVER, your niece Eva Leah Becker
“My niece Eva L Becker is a healing influence in my soul life...It’s been a number of years since I’d been to Eva’s classroom. One wall is still loaded with #EnchantedGardenClub paraphernalia! We did the #PlantYourDream experience with youth.
I started to visit Eva’s classroom around 2011. She introduced me as “Uncle Leslie,” and so the kids began to call me Uncle Leslie too. I became sort of a school celebrity. Kids wrote me the most endearing notes after each session.
The pain of lost dreams, the dream I would enter the classroom someday, were fulfilled thanks to my niece Eva. With love to Eva L Becker.”
Photo by Eva L Becker
With Butterfly on my Hat
At Optimum Health Institute of San Diego July 4, 2018
Thanks for your love and support.
As a child I watched butterflies dance
and grew speechless in their color and beauty
knowing all the while
I could never touch one intensely
without it losing something unspoken.
Since, I talk a lot of flighty things
like Dreams and Caravans
and make them real by my belief
in them. I’ve learned kitty cat words
with smiles on their faces
and purr myself to bring home joy and love
and eyes turned bright.
To you, I’ve nothing to say
Except I’ve been touched by a butterfly at rest
yet never thought I’d ever.
I’m the one with wings now
and not very sure I can’t fly off as a Butterfly in flight.
1980’s In A History Of Peace on Earth
Posted July 4, 2018
With Uncle Leslie's Butterfly on my Hat. OHI, July 2018
To See MORE Photos of Leslie Goldman, Your Enchanted Gardener, go to his Curezone image file:
Plant Your Dream Leslie Goldman Scholarship Award: https://www.curezone.org/blogs/fm.asp?i=2439753 Your Enchanted Gardener's niece has established a High School Scholarship fund in his name as a way of both helping students and honoring her Uncle Leslie Goldman
A close friend of Your Enchanted Gardener, Leslie Goldman, communicates with him for one week after he transitioned, from June 18 through June 25, 2020, leading to the document, "Leslie Speaks":
"Leslie Speaks" Part 1: https://www.curezone.org/blogs/fm.asp?i=2436088 The first of a week-long communication with Your Enchanted Gardener after he transitioned June 18, 2020. In Part 1, Leslie talks about being in the "inbetween".
"Leslie Speaks" Part 2: https://www.curezone.org/blogs/fm.asp?i=2436123 Continuing the week-long communication with Your Enchanted Gardener, Leslie Goldman, after he transitioned. In Part 2, Leslie discusses Creation.
"Leslie Speaks" Part 3: https://www.curezone.org/blogs/fm.asp?i=2436137 Continuing the week-long communication with Your Enchanted Gardener, Leslie Goldman, after he transitioned. In part 3, Leslie answers questions about Angels and God.
"Leslie Speaks" Part 4: https://www.curezone.org/blogs/fm.asp?i=2436153 Continuing the week-long communication with Your Enchanted Gardener, Leslie Goldman, after he transitioned. In Part 4, Leslie talks about his tour of the Universe and his love for Gaia.
"Leslie Speaks" Part 5: https://www.curezone.org/blogs/fm.asp?i=2436154 The final post of the week-long communication with Your Enchanted Gardener, Leslie Goldman, after he transitioned. In Part 5, Leslie discusses Giving Thanks.
Leslie Speaks: One's Own Truth: https://www.curezone.org/blogs/fm.asp?i=2436156 A postscript from Leslie following his "Leslie Speaks" communication.
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