By Ben Harris
(JTA) – Marvin Schick, a longtime advocate for the Orthodox community who conducted several censuses of American Jewish day schools, died April 23 of a heart attack at his home in Brooklyn, his son Avi confirmed to The New York Times. He was 85.
A vocal advocate of Jewish education, Schick conducted a number of comprehensive studies of day schools on behalf of the Avi Chai Foundation, most recently in 2014.
Earlier in his career, he served as an administrative assistant to New York City Mayor John Lindsay. In 1965, he founded the National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs, known as COLPA, which successfully advocated for greater accommodations for observant Jews in American life.
Born in New York in 1934, Schick and his twin brother, Allen, were sent to live in an orphanage after the sudden death of their father, Joseph, an immigrant rabbi who led the West Side Jewish Center. His mother, Renee, moved to Brooklyn with her two other children and opened a bakery, Schick’s, in 1943.
“Marvin loved the day school movement,” his nephew, Jonathan Schick, wrote in a remembrance. “Even more, he loved the day school student. He saw in the eyes of the seven-year-old the pain and hurt he felt at that age, deprived of a Jewish education.”
Schick earned rabbinic ordination from the Rabbi Jacob Joseph School, where he would later serve as president for many years, and a doctorate in political science from New York University.