Kirk Douglas, the legendary actor who portrayed legions of tough guys and embraced his Jewish heritage later in life, died at his home in Beverly Hills at 103.
He wrote 11 books, ranging from personal memoirs and a Holocaust-themed novel for young readers to a collection of poetry dedicated to his wife. Douglas was nominated three times for an academy award, and was a recipient of an Oscar for lifetime achievement as well as a Presidential Medal of Freedom, Douglas evolved from an egocentric and promiscuous young man into a multi-talented actor, director, author, philanthropist and student of Torah who left a deep imprint on both Hollywood and the Jewish people.
Larry Tesler, the American computer scientist whose many personal computing innovations included the now ubiquitous copy and paste functions, has died.Tesler created the function with Timothy Mott when he worked for Xerox in the 1970s, enabling users to highlight a piece of text, cut or copy it, and then paste it elsewhere.
When Tesler later went to work for Apple, he brought the innovation with him, which was later incorporated into the Macintosh operating system. Today it is a standard function on all personal computers.
Adam Schlesinger died April 1st 2020. He was best known as being a founding member of the bands Fountain of Wayne, Ivy, and Tinted. During his long career he remained an influential pop culture icon producing and writing music for a variety of well known movies. Throughout his career he received three Emmys and eight Nominations.
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, the former chief rabbi of the United Kingdom whose extensive writings and frequent media appearances commanded a global following among Jews and non-Jews alike, died at age 71.
Sacks was among the world’s leading exponents of Orthodox Judaism for a global audience. In his 22 years as chief rabbi, he emerged as the most visible Jewish leader in the United Kingdom and one of the European continent’s leading Jewish voices.
Carl Reiner died June 29th 2020 at 98. he was a performer and writer on “Your Show of Shows” and “Caesar’s Hour.” In the 1960s he created “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” which won numerous Emmy Awards, including for himself as a writer. Along the way he formed a comedy duo with Brooks that was highlighted in their album the “2000 Year Old Man.” Reiner wrote screenplays for Steve Martin films including “The Jerk” and, in his later years, voiced characters in animated films.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the first Jewish woman to serve on the Supreme Court and a tireless advocate for gender equality, has died at 87. In her 27 years on the court, Ginsburg emerged not only as the putative leader of the court’s liberal wing but as a pop cultural phenomenon and feminist icon.
David Stern, who in three decades as NBA commissioner guided the league from financial distress to become a multibillion-dollar global enterprise died at 77.
His philanthropy through the Dianne and David Stern Foundation with his wife included a number of Jewish causes, according to Inside Philanthropy.
Stern was a graduate of Rutgers University and earned his law degree at Columbia. He came to the the NBA from the law firm Proskauer, Rose, Goetz & Mendelsohn, which represented the league. He became the league’s general counsel in 1978 and took over as commissioner from Larry O’Brien.
Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinzaltz, the acclaimed scholar whose landmark translation of the Talmud enabled a vast readership to access one of Judaism’s most canonical texts, died this August in Jerusalem.
Steinsaltz’s monumental translation of the Babylonian Talmud made the arcane rabbinic debates and folkloric tales easier to comprehend, unlocking the wonders of Talmud study for those lacking a high-level Jewish education. The project took 45 years to complete. He was awarded the Israel Prize, Israel’s highest cultural honor, in 1998, along with the inaugural Israeli Presidential Award of Distinction, the French Order of Arts and Literature, and a 2012 National Jewish Book Award.
Rabbi Dovid Feinstein
Rabbi Dovid Feinstein was one of the most prominent haredi Orthodox rabbis in the United States.
Feinstein served as the head of the Mesivtha Tiferes Yerushalayim on Manhattan’s Lower East Side from the time of his father’s death in 1986 until his own passing. He also served on the Moetzes Gedolei Hatorah, the rabbinical council connected to Agudath Israel, an umbrella organization representing haredi, or ultra-Orthodox, communities.
Schifter was a Holocaust survivor, former U.S. diplomat and presidential adviser. After being discharged from the war he attended Yale Law School, graduating in 1951. Schifter was U.S. representative to the UNESCO Committee on Conventions and Recommendations, as well as alternate U.S. representative to the U.N. Human Rights Commission. Under President Bill Clinton, he served as special assistant to the president on the staff of the White House National Security Council and as a special adviser to the Secretary of State.
Among his various honors, Schifter received the U.S. Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award, Austria’s Golden Honor Insignia with Star and the Order of Commander of Romania’s Star.
James Wolfensohn was the World Bank president and philanthropist who helped shepherd Israel’s exit from the Gaza Strip,President Bill Clinton named him to the post in 1995 — the U.S. president has naming prerogatives — and his ten-year term was marked by his focus on partnership, rather than patronage, with the developing world. Instead of a disciplinarian, he made the institution a counselor and aide to developing economies. He ended the bank’s practice of tolerating corruption.
Rabbi Gedalia Dov Schwartz
Schwartz served as the lead judge for the Beth Din of America, one of the major Jewish courts in the United States, for nearly 30 years. He also led the court of the Chicago Rabbinical Council since moving there from Brooklyn in 1987. He died at 95.