In December 2011, I made a routine Sunday night call to my dad to confirm my plan to use the first six weeks of the new year to finish writing a book in his mountain home. He flipped open his phone—“Hell-O”—and straight away I heard an unfamiliar concern in his voice. This is where the story of YNR begins—on a moment that passes for everyday life. He said, “I have shitty news.” He used his favorite word. I stopped talking and took a deep breath. He said, “The melanoma crossed my blood-brain barrier and the doctors are giving me six months to live.” It was the facts like you hear them on evening television dramas.
One year later, Dr. Zvi Leo Soltz, father of two, psychologist to many, former accordionist and hotel night clerk, soul of a scout, consummate walker, peaceful man of modest aspirations and an amazing work ethic, died gracefully in his sleep. He would have said he didn’t have a creative bone in his body, but he created a home—the house he called Yefé Nof, Hebrew for “beautiful scenery”—for him and future generations to use. He left that home to my sister Tal and me, but neither of us could live in it. Tal is the founder of bkr water bottle company based in San Francisco and I live in Paris with my wife and son.
When we opened the doors to the Yefe Nof Residency in Fall 2015 it was to honor our dad by continuing his legacy of giving people hope to create, to design, to imagine things differently than they appear.