FLORIDA – Noted journalist Jesse Zel Lurie, who served as editor and publisher of Hadassah Magazine for 35 years, died in Florida on April 10. He was 103.
Lurie, who worked as a journalist up until just a few months ago, wrote for the Palestine Post in the 1930s. After the creation of the State of Israel, he became the United Nations correspondent for the Jerusalem Post.
During his tenure as editor and publisher of Hadassah Magazine, the publication grew from an eight-page newsletter into a nationally recognized publication. Following his retirement from the magazine in 1983, he continued to write columns for the South Florida Jewish Journal and the San Diego Jewish Journal. His last column was published in January 2017.
Lurie claimed to be the oldest American journalist still working. He was a mentor to many authors, encouraging and criticizing their work and sometimes publishing them for the first time in the pages of Hadassah.
From the 1930s until 2016, he continued to advocate for peace and coexistence between Jews and Palestinians. His passion to bring peace to Israel went beyond journalism; he actively worked with bi-lingual schools in which Jewish and Palestinian children learn together in both Hebrew and Arabic. In particular, he was active in the American Friends of Neve Shalom, Wahat al Salam, a village of Israeli Jews and Arabs in the center of Israel, which boasts a bi-lingual school and other programs which foster coexistence.
The patriarch of a large extended family, Lurie was the last survivor of six brothers born to Jacob and Ida Lurie. He stayed closely connected to his many nieces and nephews. He inspired his family with his crusty authenticity and earnest idealism inspired them all.
He was predeceased by Irene (Jupie) Blayzor, his wife of 50 years. He is survived by his companion of 28 years, Dorothy Cline; his children, Susan and Ellen; his grandchildren, Alon, Natalie, Laura and Joe; and his great-grandchildren, Noah, Teve, Pele and Oriah.
When he was asked what he hoped would be his legacy, he said “To have been a good man.” And he was.