BOSTON (JTA) – Norman Leventhal, a major figure in Boston’s development and a visionary leader and philanthropist in Jewish communal life, died on Sunday, April 5. He was 97. Leventhal, who cofounded Beacon Companies with his brother Robert, is responsible for such Boston landmarks as Center Plaza, Rowes Wharf and South Station. Boston Mayor Martin Walsh called him a “legend” and said in a statement to the Boston Globe that Leventhal “will be remembered for generations to come for his immense contributions to our city.”
The son of Jewish immigrants, Leventhal made a profound mark on Jewish institutions with contributions of millions of dollars that included developing affordable housing for Jewish seniors and, with his relatives, creating the Leventhal-Sidman Jewish Community Center in Newton, a Boston suburb.
“He was a role model for his generation, that one could, as a Jew, contribute significantly to both the Jewish community and the civic community,” Mark Sokoll, president and CEO of the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Boston, told JTA. An MIT engineering graduate, Leventhal received honorary degrees from Brandeis University and Hebrew College. He donated his collection of more than 400 maps to the Boston Public Library, where he endowed the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center.