Obituaries for March 9, 2017

David Rubinger, right, with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin
Wikimedia Commons

David Rubinger, Israeli photographer who took iconic Six-Day War photo, dies

David Rubinger, the Israeli photographer who took the iconic photo of Israeli paratroopers standing in front of the Western Wall after its capture in the Six-Day War, has died.

Rubinger, whose photos chronicled much of the history of the Jewish state, died March 2. He was 92.

Rubinger was awarded the Israel Prize in 1997 for his body of work, making him the first photographer to receive the award. He reportedly took 500,000 photos of Israeli people and events during his career.

An immigrant from Austria, he arrived in what was Palestine in 1939 at 15 and fought in 1944 with the Jewish Brigade, a military division of the British army led by British-Jewish officers in Europe.

He began his career as a photojournalist in 1955 with the daily HaOlam Hazeh and then for Yediot Achronot. He was also Time-Life’s main photographer in Israel for five decades, beginning in 1954. He also served as the Knesset’s official photographer for 30 years.

The photo at the Western Wall was taken on June 7, 1967, after paratroopers pushed into the Old City of Jerusalem and reached the narrow space between the Western Wall and the houses that faced it at the time. Rubinger maintained that the photo wasn’t successful from an artistic perspective but that its wide distribution has made it famous.

His own favorite work, he told interviewer Yossi Klein Halevi in 2007, depicted a blind boy who arrived as a new immigrant in Israel in the 1950s stroking a relief map of Israel.

“I call it, ‘Seeing the Homeland,’” Rubinger told Halevi.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin eulogized Rubinger in a statement.

“There are those who write the pages of history, and there are those who illustrate them through their camera’s lens,” Rivlin said. “Through his photography, David eternalized history as it will be forever etched in our memories. His work will always be felt as it is seen in the eyes of the paratroopers as they looked upon the Western Wall, and in the expressions on the faces of the leaders of Israel, which he captured during the highest of highs and lowest of lows.” n

—JTA News and Features

Jack Galek

Jack Galek, 99, of Albany, N.Y., died in his sleep on Jan. 22 at his residence. He was born Sept. 15, 1917, in Chiechanow, Poland, an only child of Abraham Galek and Sharon Guziker.

Galek was a survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp, where his talent for tailoring kept him alive. After being liberated in 1945, he went to Paris to live with his cousins. There he met Doris Perlmutter, who survived the Lodz Ghetto. They married in 1948. In 1949, they sailed for the United States and were sponsored by his cousins, the late David and Pearl Bray.

The couple had a daughter, Helene, and soon ran a successful business, Kenmore Cleaners in Albany. Galek was active in Congregation Beth Emeth in Albany as a member of the Brotherhood, Couples Club and soup kitchen volunteer along with his wife. When he retired in the late 1980s, he and his wife sat in on classes at local universities, went on Jewish study retreats in the Catskills, spent winters in Sarasota, Fla., and visited New York City. He was a history and politics buff and had a keen interest in language.

Galek is survived by his wife, Doris; his daughter, Helene; cousins Arthur and Anna Bray, Paul and Barbara Bray and Howard Bray; his nephew, Greg Rozines of Aldie, Va., and sister-in-law, Sylvia Rozines of Rockville. Donations may be made to Congregation Beth Emeth, and to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

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