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  Joshua Birnbaum

Date of Birth: June 17, 1977
Position: Asst Bond Trader

Joshua’s love for his mom, dad and sister, Jill, who was also his best friend, can best be understood when on Sept. 11 Joshua’s first thoughts were to call his family to let them know that he loved them. It was his goodbye message that forever will be etched into their minds and hearts.

He was an extremely intelligent young man who graduated Columbia University in May of 2001 and started working for Cantor Fitzgerald 5 days after graduation. He was most proud that he got the job on his own and was just one of three people out of a group of 75 applicants who were offered the position on the bond trading desk.

Joshua’s passion was music. He created a nonprofit event production company called Steps Back to Life and gave himself the moniker DJ Samsson. His dad’s name is Sam and he respected and looked up to him so much he wanted to honor him. He spun underground club music and produced a CD.

While attending Columbia University, Josh DJ’d for Barnard’s radio station, WBAR and arranged for a Thanksgiving benefit for the homeless collecting money and canned food. It was a big success. He later interned for Atlantic Records for a semester.

Josh loved the New York Yankees, playing golf, training for the San Diego Marathon in January and making people laugh.

He will forever be missed and loved by all he touched and is an inspiration to all who knew him.

Sam, Marcel and Jill Birnbaum, Family
  • I watched Josh grow up and turn into such a wonderful and special person. He was talented, intelligent and most definitely unique. One of the best ways that I can describe Josh is to tell everyone that he was not the type of person who would just greet me or my brother with just a handshake – from Josh, we always received a hug.

    Although we will never receive that hug again, we will hold so many of the memories that we have close to our hearts forever.

    Josh, I have told so many people about you since Sept 11th. Your story is of inspiration and success. Your memory will continue in all of us.

    Jason, Josh's First Cousin
  • Josh was truly an amazing individual. I can honestly say I had never met a young man so intelligent as he. His ambition and drive were so powerful I knew he would accomplish anything he set his mind to. He had the ability to make me laugh just when I needed it most and it made me smile to know someone else shared the same sense of humor as I did. His family was very important to him and he loved them so very much. He overcame obstacles in his life that molded him into such a strong and deeply caring person. I hold the memories I have of Josh so close to my heart and because of that my love for him will never cease.

    Jennifer Shultz, Friend
  • We will miss Josh’s great smile and his wonderfully kind heart. We will miss his enthusiasm for life. How lucky we all are to have known Josh for 24 years. I can still remember holding him in my arms in front of his first home in Holbrook. We were so proud of all his accomplishments. Nick, Nikki and I will always keep him in our hearts. Nick will remember him whenever he cooks a meal, since Josh loved his cooking. Nikki will remember the big cousin she looked up to, literally, Josh being over 6 feet tall. I will cherish our phone conversations about how I knew he would make it through the bad times. We will carry our cherished memories of Josh always and forever. Peace to you, Josh.

    Rita, Nick & Nikki, Godparents & Friends
  • Twenty-two years ago faith decided that we wouuld be blessed with wonderful neighbors. Those neighbors were the Birnbaums and ever since they have been a part of our family. We can vividly remember Josh at the age of three coming to our house with his adorable smile to play with our son , Raja. We watched the bond between Josh and Raja grow through the years and we are glad that they were able to spend quality time together at Columbia University. We were lucky to see Josh a few weeks before the tragic event of Sept. 11th. Over the years he became a son to us in many respects and he enriched our lives in many ways. He was certainly a fine young man with lot of enthusiasm and wit. We will miss him dearly, he will be always in our hearts.

    Vinoda & Radha Kudchadkar, Friends
  • Knowing how creative Josh was and the love for music bonds both Josh and I together in a very special way. He was always helping others and yet focused on a very special future for himself. His love for his family came first. Josh will truly be missed and will always be loved. Less than 12 hours before this tragic day his mom Marcel called me when she heard that I lost my little dog and my very best friend Boots, we cried together as she felt my pain, as now I feel hers. The love I have for the Birnbaum family cannot be expressed in words alone.
    Having a truly wonderful sister who was his best friend, a mom that gave with all her heart and a father who made him the man he was. I love you all. Love Cousin Marsha

    Marsha L. Fagin, Cousin
  • My mom and Josh’s mom have been best friends since they were in 2nd grade. My twin brother and I used to play with Josh and Jill when we were little. What stands out most in my mind about Josh was his magnificent gumball machine. This was not an ordinary gumball machine. It contained all types of candy, toys, and tatoos! I’ll never forget how much I looked up to Josh because I thought he had the most amazing gumball machine in the world. Years have passed, and even though my parents have remained close with Sam and Marcel, I have not seen Josh since I was very little..probably about 8 or 9..These memories that I have of Josh will never fade. All my love to Josh, his family, and his friends. His spirit will last in our hearts forever.

    Justin Slone, Friend
  • Your smile is etched in my mind Josh. Looking at photos of you as a little boy, it was so sweet and impish. As you grew into manhood, you smiled like the guy who held, “more information than he needed to know”. You were so very bright. Finally you found the right track and it was full steam ahead. God, were your parents ever so proud! Who could have ever foreseen the roadblock that took you away so needlessly and unexpectedly.

    We will remember you always as you are embedded deep in the hearts and souls of all of us who love you. Rest in peace, dear Josh. XOXO B&B

    Buddy & Bonnie Laso, friends
  • I was so sad to hear about Joshua from my dear friend Jason just a few days after the tragedy. What an incomprehensible and devastating loss of such a young, wonderful and promising life. Jason has spread Josh’s warmth to all of us, and we now hold Josh in our hearts and prayers. May the Birnbaum family find strength and comfort in their beautiful and cherished memories of Josh, whose picture radiates love and devotion…and a pure and gentle sweetness.

    Karen Allim, Jason Rein's friend from Hofstra
  • Although I only knew Josh for a very brief time, it was long enough to find out what a beautiful person he was, inside and out. I will forever hold the memories of our wonderful times together
    in my heart. I hope I put half as many smiles on that adorable face as he put on mine. Every night when I look at the NYC skyline my heart aches for the loss, for him and his family. They are all truly remarkable people. All my love to Josh, his family and his friends…

    Melanie, more than a friend
  • Josh grew up with my son Jeff which brought Marcel and I to become as close as friends could possibly be. The boys had many escapades, that now we look back upon and giggle. We are not giggling any longer. I have been an important part of Marcel and Sam’s grieving process and our lives will never be the same. We have been robbed of witnessing Josh’s adulthood and achievements. Josh will always be in my thoughts and my heart.

    Andrea Horn, Family Friend
  • The first time I met Josh was in a composition class at Columbia. We became friends instantly sharing our love for good humor. In the almost three years of friendship we made memories that traveled from Columbia to Oceanside to Florida, Chicago and a dozen other places. Once we even traveled up to the Bronx Zoo on the hottest day of the year and were too dehydrated and thirsty to do anything other than ride the skyway lify back and forth! One of the things I miss the most about Josh is the life that always shone from his eyes. He lived his life full of happiness. He was even able to change the stresses of schoolwork into laughter and fun. His laughter still rings happily in my ear. His friendship gave me strength and courage and i knew that no matter what, Josh was always with me. I still feel that way today. It took me some time to add my tribute because it was too hard to do. You only meet a person who covers all aspects of best friendship once in your life. I was lucky to have found Josh and am thankful for everyday that I had of being his friend. I miss him dearly and he always finds his way into my thoughts. I believe that he knew how much i love him and how much our friendship meant to me- and still feels it somehow. I am thankful for our memories and for finding a true friend. Josh will have a place in my heart, always. With Love,

    Leehe Matalon, Best Friend
  • I first met Josh in 11th grade, we had a class together I believe it was global studies. From the moment I met him, Josh always seemed to amaze me. Josh rarely even showed up for class but remarkably he always scored one of the highest marks in the class, this bothered some, but I never seemed to mind considering Josh sat right next to me. I would have to say that Josh was definately a character he always seemed to come up with some witty wise crack remark that seemed to draw a good laugh. I always enjoyed seeing Josh we always had a good time together, he was good company. Josh always had good intentions. I am going to miss Josh. To all those who knew Josh he will be sorley missed. All of my best to his great family Sam, Marcel and Jill they will persevere.

    Noah A. Schwartz, Friend
  • Once again, my eyes are filled with tears and my heart with a smile in recalling how much I cared for Josh. I dearly miss his gentle hugs and keen bright grin. It hurts to realize that I won’t hear his laugh or get to witness his next accomplishment. He left a profound impression upon my life that echoes in my daily endeavors. With almost every severe choice I make, I think of how he would of handled it, and remind myself that Josh is watching over. I feel my words don’t do him justice and how could I ever explain how wonderful he was. To say the least he was a mench and a gentleman; he always held the door, pulled out a chair, and listened to my antics attentively. I know one day we will all get to see him soon and in the mean time I’m grateful to have known him. Joshy-Josh, I miss you so much-thank you for reaching out when I needed you most.

    Sharon, beloved friend
  • Dear Josh, Jill, Sam, and Marcel, 10-2-02
    It’s Mathew Torgow your cousin. I have been reading the site Samsson.com. My mom showed me the letter from Jill to Josh about the race. I didn’t know Josh really well, but I feel the same loss. I lost a friend when I was in 4th grade. Once they’re gone, it’s not the same with out them. I know Josh and Jill were very close, more than brother and sister, but best friends. It’s not your fault that this happened. I’m sure that every day is a struggle to get bye without him. I still remember the day after Marissa’s Bat Mitzvah brunch 4 years ago. We had so much fun playing in the pool and bonding with each other. When Sam and Marcel came down to Florida to visit us recently, I could feel the sorrow. I felt like Sam was acting as a second father to me, especially when we were playing with the fishing rod. It felt so good to me and I’m sure to him too. If you ever want to come down here, be my guest. It was so nice to see you when you were here.
    With lots of love,
    Your cousin,
    Mathew Torgow

    Mathew Torgow, Cousin
  • I have known Josh and his family for more than 20 years now. When you know and love somebody for that long they become part of your family. I was lucky enough to know and love Josh, and I am grateful. I’ve watched him grow from a boy to a man. His future was bright and should have never been taken from him. I took for granted knowing him, always assuming he’d be here. Sitting here now I have many regrets, I should have called more, e-mailed more, done something more because now I fear he may have never known how much he was loved by me. I hold him close to my heart and pray he is in a better place. And to Sam, Marcel and Jill, there are no words, but I love you all and I hope that someday we can all find some peace. As always you are in my thoughts. Kerry

    Kerry, Family Friend
  • We are heartbroken to hear of the loss of such a fine young man. Words cannot express our deepest sympathy. I have spoken to your mom and dad so often since September 11th. We had just been together to celebrate Mathew’s Bar Mitzvah. You were missed. They were soooo very proud of you and how you had achieved so much. Mom brought a photo album of recent pictures of you and Jill. Both of you looked so HAPPY and BEAUTIFUL. Mom bragged about your getting a job at Cantor. She was so excited to finally charge you rent. Dad told me that you were thrilled with your position. I have so many fond memories of playing with you on the floor. Where did all the years go? Please know that you and your family are always in our thoughts. May you rest in peace. XXOO

    Marilyn and Jack, Cousins
  • We are still shaking out heads in disbelief at this outrageous and unfair catastrophe. There isn’t a day that goes by that we are not thinking about this devastion. Our friends have been hurt in the greatest possible way, and for that we are so sad. Josh had finally arrived in his life to a place where he had become a role model for others. He was focused and knew what he wanted out of life. Josh, we’re so sorry you weren’t able to see it through. But just know that your memory remains in our hearts and minds forever. All that we have learned from your life will not be wasted. We love you and miss you. Rest in peace.

    Sue and Jeff, Friends
  • We knew Josh as a young boy in Holbrook, when he and our daughter Colleen became great friends as did Marcel and I. We remember his smile, laughter and easy going personality. He was such a nice boy, he slept at our house as Colleen did his. Their first sleep over parties. His Bar Mitzvah when he became a young man was a wonderful party enjoyed by all. The only thought that gives me any comfort in this terrible tragedy is that Josh was raised in a close, loving and wonderful family who gave him a wonderful life. The trajedy of 9/11/01 will live with all of us, but for those who knew Josh there will forever be a scar on our hearts forever.

    Ken & Dolores, Friends
  • Josh was a student in my World Literature class in the Spring of 2000 at Columbia. I’m a graduate student who needs all the help teaching she can get – and Josh was *great* to have in my class because although he was shy, he never minded when I picked on him – which I often did because he made us all laugh. I remember, so very clearly, his excitement writing a paper on a 12th-century poem (Marie de France’s lai, *Milun*) that I love myself. And I certainly remember the smile in this picture. My heart goes out to all Josh’s family and friends. In Marie de France’s poem, a son grows up to become “a fine young man” – as had Josh.

    Lisa H. Cooper, Josh's former teacher at Columbia
  • I have but 1 regret…I will never get the chance to see Josh grow old. I will never again hear the laughter created by Josh’s witty sarcasm, so vivid in my memories. I will not have nieces/nephews to spoil, nor will my parents have grandchildren to carry on the family name. I have been robbed of the quarrels and brother-sister fights that every sibling hates to have, but laughs at later. Josh and I were more than just friends, we were connected by the soul & shared but one heart. He wanted nothing more than to make music and enjoy what he had created. I feel as though my words do not do him justice, for he was so much more than a son, brother, entertainer, college graduate, friend, and companion; he was a hero, and he will be revered forever. ~Jilly Bean

    Jillian, Sister
  • Josh was the type of person who always brought a smile to my face with his sarcastic/witty personality. He had the most wonderful laugh. He was always making people around him happy even when he wasn’t trying to. He never did things halfway, he was determined and knew where he was headed in life. He gave wonderful advice and when he didn’t know just what to say he always offered himself to at least listen. He always put others before himself. His greatest love in his life was his parents, his sister, and music. He told me many times how greatful he was for the upbringing they had given him, and how Jill was his best friend. I thank him for all the valued things he taught and has given me in my life, just by knowing him. I will miss him dearly.

    Alisa Abrams, More than just a friend
  • I last saw Josh at my family’s annual holiday party. I envied the Birnbaum family because they are so close. Even in the face of life’s tests, their family didn’t grow apart, but grew stronger.

    I was thirteen when I met Josh and he was a baby. I used to love to play with him. After I moved, I only saw Josh at holidays. Last year, I was amazed at how he had grown. I thought I should get to know Josh, the young man, better. I thought I had time.

    My heart goes out to the Birnbaums.

    Lynn Morris, Family friend
  • Today is March 11th, six months later, and not a day passes that Josh is not in my thoughts for you see I talk to his mom every day and through Marcel I get glimpses into the life of a young man who is my cousin…in some small way I know it helps…I’m sure the angel in running shoes would agree.

    Sonia Pisarek, Cousin
  • Every day I visit this website because I lost my favorite cousin on Sept. 11. His name was Joseph Corbett, he worked at Cantor too. I’ve looked at every tribute on every page and something draws me to look at Joshua’s tributes again and again. I did not know him but after reading his tributes.. I cry because it saddens me that another person as genuine and loved by so many, who was young and as full of life as my cousin was taken from us that day. I am comforted by the fact that my cousin became an angel with someone like Josh.I am so sorry for the loss in your lives and for the hole that remains in your hearts. I feel it too.
    God Bless,
    Kristen Peeler, California

    Kristen Peeler, Stranger

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NOTE: All submissions will be reviewed by our administrator prior to being posted. Please limit your tribute to 100 words and be sure to check your spelling as tributes are posted as submitted. Also, please avoid pasting Microsoft Word documents, which can cause character problems.