Wedding day

Jack Decker and Joyce Kotler were married on Aug. 29, 1965.

Photo courtesy of Jack Decker

On July 19, Jewish News published “Man seeks daughter 49 years after adoption,” the story of Jack Decker, a father seeking to connect with a daughter who had been given up in adoption. The newspaper received an extraordinary thank-you letter on July 29 from him after he found his daughter. Excerpts of his letter are printed below. We say a hearty “Mazel tov” to him, his long-lost daughter and her adoptive family. 


In what seemed an impossibility after years of searching for my daughter and her searching for me, we have connected. This did not happen through courts, nor through a totally uncooperative hospital, nor reunion organizations, but rather, just as I predicted, it was through a “Yiddishe mama.” 

After the article ran, a lady friend of my daughter’s adoptive mother went to her and said, “This is about Sharon, your daughter,” and sure enough, it was. This was nothing short of an act of G-d.

Hopefully, Sharon and I will reunite in about two weeks here in Chicago and her adoptive mother, Joanne, will be there. As she put it in her first contact with me, we both share something wonderful in common, our beautiful daughter.  None of this would have been possible without the help of Jewish News Managing Editor Leisah Woldoff, who published the original story; Hillary Kaminsky, the confidential adoption intermediary who immediately took on the case and started the search and last; and most of all, Janette Silverman, our special angel who made this all possible. [Silverman is education and youth director at Beth El Congregation in Phoenix.] 

After contacting almost 30 people in Phoenix over a period of months who did not offer to help, I contacted Janette, by chance,  through information on the Beth El Congregation website. She was on a working vacation, out of town with a million things on her plate. I was a total stranger, 1,800 miles away, trying to get help for something that happened 49 years ago. That day, she started to call, email and contact many people trying to solicit help for me. As a result, the article ran and now the impossible was made possible. Many, many years from now, when Janette gets to that better place, I think G-d himself will personally greet her with a special table set in her honor. Her mitzvah was so far above and beyond the meaning of mitzvah. These are three special women and anyone affiliated with them is in good company. 

Jack Decker