By Barb Van Atta
Broome Arts Mirror offers its deepest condolences to the family and friends of former CyberCafé West proprietor Jeffrey (Jeff) Kahn, who died Sunday (June 13). Kahn, 59, was a towering figure in Broome County’s live music scene.
Although the café closed, it maintained a Facebook page. According to a June 1 post there, Kahn was diagnosed in May with Creuzfeldt-Jakob Disease, which is a rare and fatal neurodegenerative disease that attacks the brain.
Some people knew Kahn for his dedication to music (both as performer and impresario), and others for his café’s satisfying menu and eclectic beer selection. And then, of course, there were the trivia competitions and outdoor festivals. Everything was designed to bring people together, and as former Press & Sun-Bulletin Arts Editor Chris Kocher put it, “the connections (he) made and the love (he) generated will last forever.”
Kocher hosts “The Signal” on WHRW, 90.5 FM Binghamton. From 6 to 9 or 9:30 p.m. Tuesday (June 15), he’ll present a special edition “sharing some of the great music I heard at CyberCafé West over the years, in honor of Jeff Kahn’s passing.”
Facebook has been replete with remembrances, such as this comment from his friend Rachel Coker: “He leaves a huge legacy in Binghamton, where he was known for the hospitality and musicianship on display at the café he ran for many years as well as for his radically empathetic politics. Jeff, a true mensch despite his reliably sardonic tone, touched so many people over the years as a friend, a mentor and a writer.”
“There’s something remarkable about guys like Jeff who make a big mark on a little place, because everyone who passes through will carry a piece of it with them,” wrote Joshua Bernard, co-founder of the LUMA Projection Arts Festival. “All the BU grad students who discovered their favorite nook where they read a book that shaped their career. All the artists who penned a lyric or sang through their song on that stage for the first time. The friendships forged over trivia or unpretentious first dates. Jeff had a hand in them all.
“For me, he made Binghamton a place that I wanted to stay and explore and grow. And so, count me as one of the many lives changed by a wonderfully unique, genuine, warm, creative, giving, cranky soul.
“We’ll miss you, friend. And take you with us always.”
Jeff Kahn is survived by his wife, Rebecca Kahn, and his son, Gabe. Jeff’s funeral service will be held at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday (June 16) at Temple Concord, 9 Riverside Drive, Binghamton, with visitation in the adjoining Kilmer Mansion from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Masks and signing in will be required. Seating is limited to 50 percent of capacity (approximately 225 people). Burial will be at Westlawn Cemetery in Johnson City.
The family will be sitting Shiva with Zoom services at 7 p.m. Wednesday (June 16) and Saturday (June 19) and at 2 p.m. Sunday (June 20). The family will be sitting Shiva in person from noon to 4 p.m. Thursday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday (June 17, 20-22), 2 to 3 p.m. Friday (June 18) and from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday at Jeff and Rebecca’s home, 224 Reese Ave., Vestal. Services will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Monday and Tuesday.
The Zoom information for both the memorial service and Shiva is:
Meeting ID: 816 9143 0138
By phone, call (929) 436-2866; then enter the meeting ID and Password.
Donations in Jeff’s memory can be made to Temple Concord at www.templeconcord.com or to Mercy House in Endicott, where he spent his final days, at mercyhousesoutherntier.com.