Rabbi Daniel Allen, philanthropy executive and Zionist activist, dies at 69
Rabbi Daniel Allen, a noted expert on Jewish philanthropy who led the United Israel Appeal and the Reform movement’s Zionist association, has died at the age of 69.
Allen, who lived in West Orange, N.J., died on Sunday night surrounded by his family. He had suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the neurodegenerative condition known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
From 2012-2015 he was senior vice president of Jewish Federations of North America and executive vice chairman emeritus of its United Israel Appeal, a subsidiary which acts as a conduit for Jewish humanitarian philanthropy in Israel. He held top leadership roles at UIA beginning in 1988, before it merged with other philanthropies to become part of the JFNA.
Allen also served as the executive director of ARZA, the Reform movement’s Zionist arm, and as the rabbi of the Emory University Hillel.
Born in Reno, Nev., he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1971 from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master’s of Hebrew letters from Hebrew Union College in 1973. He was ordained at Hebrew Union College in 1976.
Allen served as the CEO of the Greater Hartford Jewish Federation for two years until 2003, and as CEO of American Friends of Magen David Adom for nearly six years until 2009.
Allen, known by nearly all as “Danny,” was a noted pro-Israel activist and one of the leading experts on American Jewish philanthropy and its impact on Israeli society. He was still working on several projects to help Israel and friends at the time of his death. A close friend, Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, said he helped her when she launched The Israel Project and later RespectAbility, a disability rights organization. She described Allen, her former Hillel rabbi at Emory, as “a leaders’ leader – a rabbi’s rabbi. When Jewish organizations denied access to my child due to disability issues, Danny was a calming voice. … He was also a constant feminist inside Judaism, Jewish groups and Israel.”
He told Haaretz in 2016 that he had visited Israel six to seven times a year for more than 25 years.
He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Mary Lou (Frishberg) Allen; his children Sarah, Rabbi Uri (Sari) and Noah (Rena); four grandchildren; and his mother Annie Allen of Jerusalem. He is also survived by his siblings Dr. Joel Allen (Debbie), Dr. Miriam Kluska (Avram) and Rabbi Morris Allen (Dr. Phyllis Gorin).
—JTA News and features
Saul M. Bergman
Saul M. Bergman, of Potomac, died Dec. 9. He was 91. He was the beloved husband of Esther Bergman; beloved father of Naomi Kielar (Alan) and David Bergman (Galit) and the late Reuben Bergman; loving grandfather of Sam and Rebecca Kielar and Jacob Bergman; and beloved brother of Mimi Mirel.
Bergman was born in Antwerp, Belgium to an Orthodox Jewish family. He was caught up in Europe during WWII, and found himself as a 15-year-old boy crossing France on his own. He eventually found refuge in Switzerland.
He is a graduate of the Technion and Oxford University and eventually earned a Ph.D. in theoretical physics and became a physicist. He was a master of six languages; loved science, history, poetry and music as well as a good piece of chocolate.
Contributions may be made to B’nai Israel Congregation or to a charity of choice.
Noah Klieger, Holocaust survivor and storied journalist, is dead at 92
Noah Klieger, who survived Auschwitz by pretending to be a boxer and went on to a storied career in journalism, died Thursday in Israel. He was 92.
As a prisoner in Auschwitz, Klieger was selected for the gas chamber but managed to talk himself out of the sentence in a personal encounter with the Nazi doctor Josef Mengele. Later, he faked his way on to a boxing squad at Auschwitz that enjoyed better meal rations.
After liberation, he arrived in pre-state Israel aboard the ship Exodus and fought in the 1948 War of Independence. Klieger went on to author several books and wrote a longtime column in the Israeli daily Yediot Acharonot. He continued to work as a journalist until the end of his life.
Klieger was born on July 13, 1926, in Strasbourg, France, the son of the writer Bernard Klieger. He was liberated in April 1945 by the Soviet Army and worked as a journalist in France and Belgium. He immigrated to Israel in t 1948.
In a video documentary earlier this year, he talked about the pledges he made upon his liberation from the death camps.
“Should I survive I decided that I would first speak about the camps for future generations,” he said. “And the second decision was, I became a Zionist.”
—JTA News and features
George Orlove, DDS.
Dr. George Orlove, of Bethesda, died on Dec. 7. He was the beloved husband of 58 years to Arlene Orlove; devoted father of Dina (Michael) Fink, Brett (Deborah) Orlove and Billy (Katherine) Orlove; proud grandfather of Robert, Amy, Elliotte, Alex, Raquel and Charlie; son in law of Sylvia Pinson. Loving uncle to Ben (Deena) Klopman, Myron Klopman, the late Deborah (Jacob) Roth, Eileen (Lew) Wedeen, Ellen Hayes, and Janis (Ed) Berebitski. He was preceded in death by his parents Israel and Ray, his brother Henry and his sister Sylvia.
George was born in Washington in 1936, and graduated from Roosevelt High School, The George Washington University and the Medical College of Virginia. He served as a captain in the U.S. Air Force stationed in the Azores Islands and conducted his dental practice for 40 years in Falls Church.
Contributions may be made to the Jewish Social Service Agency (www.jssa.org) or CurePSP (www.curepsp.org).
Rona Ramon, widow of astronaut killed in Space Shuttle Columbia, dies at 54
Rona Ramon, the widow of Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon, who died on board the space shuttle Columbia, has died.
Rona Ramon, who became a public figure and established the Ramon Foundation to promote academic excellence and social leadership among Israeli youth, died on Monday at the age of 54 of pancreatic cancer.
Ramon’s oldest son Asaf, an Israel Air Force pilot who flew an F-16 fighter jet, died in 2009, six years after his father, in a training accident. She had been required to sign a letter allowing him to follow his father’s footsteps into the Air Force.
Ramon was born in the Tel Aviv suburb of Kiryat Ono and served as a paramedic in the army. She earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education from the Wingate Institute and returned to school after her son’s death to earn a master’s degree in holistic health from Lesley University in Massachusetts. She also began to lecture about dealing with grief and finding coping mechanisms.
She lit a torch in 2016 for Israel’s 68th Independence Day at the annual ceremony on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.
She is survived by three children: Tal, Yiftah and Noa.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement posted on Twitter: “I’m deeply saddened by the passing of Rona Ramon. @NASA sends our heartfelt condolences to her family and the people of Israel. Throughout her life, Rona sought to inspire a new generation of explorers to build on the legacy of her husband, space shuttle astronaut Ilan Ramon.”
—JTA News and Features