I didn’t know Igal that well, but I always was happy to see him. He brought smiles and laughter wherever he went. I am a fan of his photography and his Train Porn presentations were always the highlight of any Bar Camp.
I wanted to get to know him better. He had lots of friends and I will miss him.
Moving to Portland was a difficult adjustment. After the initial positive impression and slowly working my way into the tech scene, I felt a strange kind of culture shock — despite growing up in the US, my Latin@ heritage shaped my sensibilities. I had a kind of friction that finally dissipated when I chatted with Igal about my problems. When he told me he felt the same way I did before, I didn’t feel like such an outsider. He helped me attempt to connect to others.
Every time I’ve seen him, he always made me feel like I belonged wherever I was. His cheerful attitude towards me made my day ten times better. I wish I had spent more time with him.
Igal was a member of the Calagator core team. I wish that I could write about the early days of Calagator, but that is someone else’s story to write as I wasn’t there.
On a Saturday in Spring 2010 I brought my team for my Six Sigma Black project to a Calagator code sprint. I informed my team members that at a code sprint you brought your lap top and participated. Well they didn’t listen. One team member walked in and announced that he was there to observe. Igal came up with a solution so that everyone could participate and get the work done. He set up a projector in another room. We did code review and closed tickets together. Igal patiently explained everything. He spoke Russian for the team member who spoke Russian better then English. Work got down on Calagator. My team learned what a code sprint was. I earned my Six Sigma Black Belt.
Spring the time of year that I have said good bye to too many people. With great difficulty I have learned mindfulness as a way to cope. Mindfulness is far better for my health than eating a case of frozen Twinkies or drinking myself silly.
Last November I went thru a horrendous move. I am grateful for all the help I received from friends and family.
On a cold rainy Sunday a chat with Igal helped me get thru the last of the move. On the day we moved the chickens, I had no more energy but had to keep going. Igal was with me in the truck. The chickens were in a dog carrier in the back seat making a ruckus. The chicken coop was perched over the truck bed. I was telling him that this move rated up there as the worst move, second only to the mudslide. I asked Igal what was his worst move was and he told me this story. His parents where dissidents. That he was born in KGB prison. That when he was a little kid the KGB came in the middle of the night and put them on a plane to Israel. Igal talked about how hard it was to be in Israel where he didn’t speak the language. Isolated and alone. Well I wasn’t alone. I had friends and family to help with my move. The chickens got moved.
Before Peter went to work he gave Igal a list of things we had to do to settle the chickens in. Like put up a new fence for the chicken yard. Igal kept track of everything. Everything was completed.
Our discussion gave me the energy to practice mindfulness and complete the move and not fall down into the mud pit with Jeremiah my favorite cranky prophet.
Camera in hand Igal captured the joy, inter beauty and spirit of community. I look at the postings, this is my favorite photo that Igal took. I see a gifted photographer. I am amazed by his attention to detail. Time, place, every person’s name. Whole paragraphs of tags and text posted. When I post photos, I happily let my camera post the details and maybe a name like Bonnie where you get to guess if Bonnie is a flower, person or dog. But not Igal you know exactly what the photo is.
I don’t remember when I first met Igal, but I’m pretty sure it was at one of my first PDXRuby meetups shortly after I moved here in 2008. It was obvious that Igal was a backbone of the group, and was always working on something interesting besides. When I got a chance to work with him and Markus at Puppet in 2010 I was thrilled.
Besides the tireless work he did on his own, Igal was always working to teach and help bring others up to speed, something that I wish more developers did. Igal would review code not just to see if it worked, but also offer suggestions on ways to do it better and make it easier to read. I occasionally disagreed with him on style points, but more often appreciated the kind feedback and sharing of knowledge.
The time I worked with him directly was too short since he ended up moving on after a few months to other projects, but I always assumed I’d end up working with him again. He was impossible to avoid in the developer community, not that I can imagine why you’d want to avoid him.
I have a fond memory of one of the few events I was at with him where he wasn’t helping organize somehow. It was just an office party for a local tech company and they had a mechanical bull and other games. A few of us took turns riding the bull and I remember lgal laughing heartily at our antics, all while photographing our embarrassing falls.
I always wanted to go to a heavy metal concert with him. Don’t know why, but I was always surprised by his musical tastes, and couldn’t really imagine him in a mosh pit.
I’m sad I won’t have the chance to mosh with him, work him again, learn from his mentorship, see his photos of events, benefit from his community organizing efforts, or laugh with him again. I miss him already.
I don’t even remember when I met Igal; seems like he was there forever. I talked with him all the time, and enjoyed it so much. The longest conversation we had was after I dropped him off at his apartment a few years back; we sat in my car and talked so long it killed my battery. Don’t remember even what we said, but I clearly remember thinking how great it was to hang with such a great person. I will remember Igal not only for the tireless work he did to make the lives of me and others in town happier, but also just for being a person who made me happy every time I found him in a room.
My first memory of Igal is from CubeSpace: somehow we realized we both speak Russian, so from then on, every time I saw Igal at tech events, we always reconnected through a shared interest for the language. Sometimes a brief hello (здравствуйте), other times pretending to talk about the others nearby in dark sarcastic Russian phrases; always a pleasure. A crew of us: Ben Foote, Carissa Wodehouse, Reid Beels, Igal, and myself rode the new Green line Max when it was launched. Igal was a fixture in the open source tech community, a genuinely nice person, wicked smart, and a community builder, lifting up others around him. So much efforts to create and maintain community through Calagator, Ignite Portland, BarCamp, and many many more. I will miss our friend and colleague: мир праху его. Благодарю вас за все, что вы дали нам, Igal.
Igal was always there to enjoy an HP Lovecraft reference with me or joke about upsetting the Elder Gods with a particular piece of code.
Was Igal actually Nyarlathotep, the Planet Eater? Or a cousin of the Nameless mist? We may never know.
He surely had superhuman powers.
I can not remember when I first met Igal, though my earliest memories are from PDXCritique. It was a little group that was an outgrowth of an idea from my time at AI. See AI is a trade school, the goal of the department that I graduated from was to prepare you to be entry level staff at an ad/web agency. Because of this there was a lot of focus on meeting specs but little desire or time for a true critique. I often felt that this was a short coming from school and eventually I was part of a small group of three that decided to take on the task of starting the group. CubeSpace at the time was the hub of the community and was where we decided to have our meetings too. I do not remember if Igal was there on night one but, as with many groups, he became a solid fixture in the group. Always willing to share an idea or two, always willing to speak up as needed.
From there he encouraged me to become more involved in the magic that was happening around us. I attended a sprint or two for Calagator, I started helping with OSB that first year. I soon learned that if you just follow Igal then he will show you the way to something wonderful. Be it conversations about code, photography, or any of the thousands of things that this wonderful man was passionate about.
I will miss his perspective, I will miss his ability to kindly direct you to what you really needed to be doing. He was a great force for good in my life and because of him I am who I am to day. I love you Igal, you made me a better person.