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IN MEMORIAM 2019

Former Israeli defense minister Moshe Arens in his home in Savyon, July 28, 2016. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

MOSHE ARENS, who over the course of three decades served as a lawmaker, ambassador and defense minister under three Israeli prime ministers, died Jan. 7. He was 93. Born in Lithuania, he immigrated to the United States in 1939 and served in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers during World War II.

JASON SPINDLER, a Jewish American who, after surviving the 9/11 attack in New York, left his career as an investment banker to join the Peace Corps, was killed in a terrorist attack in Nairobi, Kenya on Jan. 15. He was 41.

CAROL CHANNING, who won a Tony Award for originating the starring role of Dolly Levi in the Broadway hit musical  “Hello Dolly!”, died Jan. 15. She was 97. Channing was the daughter of a Jewish mother and a Christian father.

NATHAN GLAZER, the urban sociologist and Harvard professor considered a founder of neo-conservatism, died Jan. 19 at his home in Cambridge, Mass. He was 95.

BARBRA CASBAR SIPERSTEIN, a fierce advocate for transgender rights, died Feb. 3 at the age of 76, two days after the Babs Siperstein Law went into effect in New Jersey, allowing residents to change their gender identity without proof of gender reassignment surgery. Siperstein, who came out as a trans woman in the late 1980s, officially changed her Hebrew name from Eliezer Banish to Baila Chaya in 2009, at a ceremony at her Conservative synagogue in Freehold.

Yael Eckstein greets some of the 243 immigrants from Ukraine on the “Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein Memorial Freedom Flight” arriving in Israel on Feb. 25, 2019. (Noam Moshkowitz/IFCJ)

RABBI YECHIEL ECKSTEIN, who founded the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews in 1983, raised millions of dollars in donations for Jewish causes mainly from evangelicals, died Feb. 6 in Jerusalem. He was, 67. To thousands of Jews in conflict zones who he helped bring to Israel, Eckstein was a guardian angel.

RABBI AVRAHAM TZVI LANDA, the last group of a of Polish Chabad yeshiva students to escape the Nazis, died Feb. 15. He was 100. Landa was granted a visa in 1940 by Japanese consul Chiune Sugihara and spent the remainder of World War II first in Kobe, and then in Shanghai. His parents and all but one of his siblings were killed in the Holocaust.

STANLEY DONEN, a filmmaker and choreographer best known for the 1952 musical “Singin’ in the Rain,” died Feb. 21. He was 94. As a child in Columbia, South Carolina, Donen faced antisemitic bullying and used the movies as an escape. Some of his other notable films include “On the Town,” “Royal Wed-ding,” “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,” and “Charade.”

LEOPOLD KLEINMAN-KOZLOWSKI, a pianist, composer, and actor who was called “the last klezmer of Galicia,” died March 12 in Krakow. He was 100. He worked as a music director at the Jewish Theater in Warsaw. He was a music consultant for the Academy Award-winning film “Schindler’s List,” in which he played an cameo role.

ORI ANSBACHER, a 19-year-old woman from the settlement of Tekoa, was found murdered in the Jerusalem Forest outside of the Ein Yael Living Museum where she was working with children for her year of national service, on Feb. 7. Ansbacher was described by her parents as someone with “a sensitivity for every person and creature and an infinite desire to correct the world with goodness.” A 29-year-old Palestinian man from Hebron was charged with her murder.

CANTOR SHERWOOD GOFFIN, the cantor of Lincoln Square Synagogue on Manhattan’s West Side for 50 years, died April 10. He was 77. Goffin, who grew up in New Haven, recorded many Jewish music albums, including an album from 1970 dedicated to Soviet Jewish refuseniks.

DAVID BRION DAVID, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian who wrote a trilogy of books on the problem of slavery in western culture, died April 14 at the age of 92. A professor emeritus of American history at Yale University, he founded the school’s Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale.

MICHEL BACOS, the Air France pilot who refused to leave his Jewish passengers behind after his plane was hijacked to Entebee, Uganda, in 1976, died in Nice, France, March 26, at the age of 95. He and his crew stayed with the Jews until they were rescued in a secret operation by the Israeli military. 

LORI GILBERT-KAYE, 60, was killed on April 27 in an attack at a Chabad syna-gogue in Poway, Calif., San Diego after jumping in front of the synagogue’s rabbi to shield him from the gunman’s bullets. She was remembered as a pillar the community who often hosted Shabbat meals filled with guests.

HERMAN WOUK, author of  The Winds of War, War and RemembranceMarjorie Morningstar and The Caine Mutiny, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize, died May 17, just 10 days before his 104th birthday. When Time put Herman Wouk on its cover in 1955, it found the Orthodox novelist’s blend of literary achievement and religious practice to be paradoxical. But over the course of his nearly seven-decade career, Wouk helped usher Judaism into the American mainstream through more than two dozen novels and works of nonfiction, several of which were adapted for the screen.

Peggy Lipton at the New York Hilton Hotel in New York City, April 19, 1986. (Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

PEGGY LIPTON, the quintessential American flower child who starred in the TV drama “The Mod Squad,” died in May at the age of 72. Descended from Russian-Jewish immigrants, she married music producer Quincy Jones, with whom she had two daughters – including Rashida Jones, the actress and writer.

In the 1960s, during the Civil Rights Movement, Rabbi Stanley Kessler marched with
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Birmingham and Selma, Ala.

RABBI STANLEY KESSLER, founding spiritual leader of West Hartford’s Beth El Temple (1954-1992), died May 30. He was 95. A longtime civil rights activist, he took part in the 1960s protest marches from Selma to Birmingham, Alabama, led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

ROBERT BERNSTEIN, head of Random House and a founder of Human Rights Watch who later distanced himself from the group over its criticism of Israel, died May 27 in Manhattan. He was 96.  During his 25-year tenure, Random House the works of Soviet dissidents Natan Sharansky, Andrei Sakharov, Yelena Bonner and Arkady Shevchenko, as well as Jewish Argentine journalist Jacobo Timerman.

SEMION ROSENFELD, the last living survivor of the Nazi death camp Sobibor, died June 3 in Israel at the age of 96. He was one of 300 who participated in the Sobibor Uprising and one of only 47 who survived in the days afterward.

VELVEL PASTERNAK, a musicologist, conductor and arranger who published more than 150 volumes of Jewish music, died June 11 in New York City. He was 86. 

JUDITH KRANTZ, best-selling novelist of Scruples and third largest-selling female novelist in history, died June 22 at her home in Bel Air, California. She was 91.

DEVRA FREELANDER, 28, the daughter of prominent Reform rabbis Dan Freelander and Elyse Frishman, was struck by a cement truck and killed while biking in Brooklyn on July 1. She was an award-winning video and sculpture artist whose work was on display recently in Times Square. 

On the eve of leaving Egypt in the 1960s, Lucette Lagnado, then 6, and her family posed for a family portrait. (Lucettelagnado.com)

LUCETTE MATALON LAGNADO, a Wall Street Journal reporter whose 2007 mem-oir of her Egyptian-Jewish family, The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit, won the Jew-ish Book Council’s presigious Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, died July 10. She was 63.

ARTUR BRAUNER, the German-Jewish film producer who was considered one of the most important producers in postwar Germany, died July 7 at the age of 100. His award-winning films include “Europa, Europa”, and “The Garden of the
Finzi-Continis” (1972), about a Jewish family in 1930s fascist Italy, which won the 1972 film won an Academy Award for best foreign film.

DVIR SOREK, a 19-year-old yeshiva student and IDF soldier was stabbed to death and found near the entrance to Kibbutz Migdal Oz in Gush Etzion on Aug. 8, apparently the victim of a terrorist attack.

EVA KOR was a Holocaust survivor and author of Surviving the Angel of Death: The True Story of a Mengele Twin in Auschwitz, which told the story of her and her twin sister Miriam’s experience in the death camp, died in Poland July 4 at the age of 85.

HAROLD “HAL” PRINCE, the legendary Broadway producer and director who brought “Fiddler on the Roof” to the stage, died July 29 at the age of 91. The recipient of 21 Tony Awards and a Kennedy Center Honor, Prince’s credits also include “West Side Story,” “Damn Yankees,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” Caba-ret,” Company” and “Sweeney Todd.”

RINA SHNERB, 17, of Lod, Israel was killed, and her father and 19-year-old brother were injured, when explosives placed at the Ein Bubin spring were det-onated remotely on Aug. 23. 

KENNETH BIALKIN, a philanthropist and a longtime leader of major Jewish organi-zations, including the ADL in the early 1980s, died Aug. 23 at the age of 89. He helped win a posthumous pardon for Leo Frank, the Jewish businessman from Georgia who was convicted of murder and lynched in 1915.

Cokie Roberts at home in Bethesda, Md., Feb. 5, 2019. She never converted to Judaism, but her husband joked that “she was the best Jew in the family.” (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

COKIE ROBERTS, a pioneering and Emmy Award-winning journalist who with her Jewish husband, journalist Steven Roberts, wrote an interfaith Haggadah and published a book about their interfaith marriage, died in September. She was 75.

ROBERT FRANK was among the most influential photographers of the 20th century whose groundbreaking book The Americans included 28,000 photos he took on road trips across the U.S. in the 1950s. Frank died on Sept. 9 at 94.

JACQUES CHIRAC, the former French president who in 1995, after only two months in office, broke the 50-year taboo on acknowledging France’s role in the Holocaust, died on Sept. 26 at age 86.

MARCO FEINGOLD, Austria’s oldest Holocaust survivor, who survived Ausch-witz and three Nazi camps in Germany, died in September in Salzberg at the age of 106.

MORDICAI GERSTEIN, artist and children’s book author died in Northampton, Mass. on Sept. 24 at the age of 83. He won the 2006 National Jewish Book award for The White Ram: A Story of Abraham and Isaac, and the Caldecott Medal in 2004 for The Man Who Walked Between the Towers.

JACK GREENBERG, a prominent lawyer in the U.S. civil rights movement who once defended the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., died Oct. 12 in Manhattan. He was 91. 

Harold Bloom talks to an audience at the CUNY campus  in New York City, March 9, 2003. (Mark Mainz/Getty Images)

HAROLD BLOOM, one of the most influential literary critics and a faculty member at Yale. Born to Yiddish-speaking Orthodox Jewish immigrants in New York City, Bloom didn’t learn to speak English until age five. He never shook his affinity for Yiddish, telling an interviewer shortly before his death that he still dreamed in the language of his youth. 

MORTON MANDEL, a Cleveland businessman who donated tens of millions of dol-lars to Jewish causes, died Oct. 16 in Florida. He was 98.

Robert Evans (center) with Henry Kissinger and actress Ali MacGraw at the 1972 premiere of “The Godfather.” (Getty Images)

ROBERT EVANS, the Hollywood producer behind classic films like “The Godfather” and “Chinatown,” died Oct. 26 at the age of 89. Born Robert Shapera in Manhattan, the phrase “The kid stays in the picture” was originally said about him, after Ernest Hemingway objected to his being cast in “The Sun Also Rises.” Evans later used the line as the title of his memoir.

Rep. Elijah Cummings  (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS, a longtime Baltimore congressman who worked to build ties between the African-American and Jewish communities in his district, died Oct. 17. He was 68. Of the two-year Elijah Cummings Youth Leadership Program in Israel, which he founded in 1999 for  African-American teens, Cummings recently said, “I want to send a message that we cannot as African-Americans progress without coalitions, and our greatest coalition partner has been the Jewish people in America.” 

YVETTE LUNDY, a member of the French Resistance who provided false iden-tification papers to Jewish families and who also survived two Nazi concentration camps, died in France on Nov. 3. She was 103.

BRANKO LUSTIG, the Oscar-winning producer of the Holocaust film “Schindler’s List,” died Nov. 14 at his home in Croatia. He was 87. A survivor of Auschwitz, much of his family was killed by the Nazis. “My number was 83317,” Lustig said in his emotional acceptance speech at the Oscar ceremony. “It’s a long way from Auschwitz to this stage.”

SHELLY MORRISON, a Jewish actress best known for her role as a maid on the com-edy series “Will & Grace,” died on Dec. 1 in Los Angeles. She was 83. She was born Rachel Mitrani to Jewish parents from Spain.

ALLAN GERSON, a lawyer who took the unprecedented challenge of suing Libya for its government’s role in the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, thereby making it easier for the families of terror victims to sue foreign governments, died Dec. 1. He was 74. He was the husband of cookbook author Joan Nathan.

RABBI HENRY SOBEL, Brazil’s iconic rabbi and human rights activist, died Nov. 22 at the age of 75. Sobel made history by challenging Brazil’s military regime in 1975 by refusing to bury journalist Vladimir Herzog at the Jewish cemetery’s suicides wing for rejecting the official version that he had hanged himself.

WALTER SHUCHATOWITZ, founder and founding principal of Bi-Cultural Hebrew Academy in Stamford, died Nov. 27 at the age of 92. Affectionately known as “Mr. S.,” he founded what was then called Bi-Cultural Day School in 1956, creating a pre-K-grade 8 Jewish day school. Mr. S. served as Bi-Cultural’s principal for 50 years, retiring in 2005. Even in his 90s, he was still a member of the school’s board of incorporators, and was actively involved in the 2018 merger of Bi-Cultural Day School with the Jewish High School of Connecticut to form Bi-Cultural Hebrew Academy, the state’s first comprehensive K-12th grade Jewish day school.

ERIC PLESKOW, who escaped the Nazis and became a film executive whose movies won the Academy Award for best picture seven times, died Oct. 1. He was 95. Pleskow was president of United Artists in the 1970s, when it won Best Picture Oscars for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” “Rocky” and “Annie Hall.” Later, as co-founder of Orion Pictures, he oversaw four more winners: “Amadeus,” “Platoon,” “Dances With Wolves” and “Silence of the Lambs.”

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