Obituaries for July 6


Rabbi Maurice Lamm, author of ‘Jewish Way in Death and Mourning’

Rabbi Maurice Lamm, the author of “The Jewish Way in Death and Mourning” and several other notable Jewish books, has died.

Lamm died on June 29 “surrounded by his wife, children and grandchildren singing him to the heavens,” his granddaughter Lisa Lamm Pasternak said in a Facebook post. He was 86.

His son, Rabbi David Lamm, also announced his death in a Facebook post, saying: “He meant so much to so many.”

“The Jewish Way in Death and Mourning,” first issued in 1969, has been updated to include 21st century topics such as organ donation, autopsy, the question of a woman’s right to say Kaddish, mourning practices related to the stillborn and converts to Judaism mourning their non-Jewish parents.

Lamm also was the author of “The Jewish Way in Love and Marriage,” “Becoming a Jew” and “Living Torah in America,” among other popular books.

He was a professor and held the chair in professional rabbinics at Yeshiva University’s seminary in New York, where he was ordained and also earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. The school also recognized Lamm with an honorary doctorate and he served on the faculty of its Stern College for Women.

Lamm served as spiritual leader of Beth Jacob of Beverly Hills, California, one of the largest Orthodox synagogues in the United States, from 1971 to 1984.

He was the field director of U.S military chaplains whose duties took him around the world. Lamm represented the U.S. Department of Defense during the Vietnam War with the civilian equivalent of major general.

Lamm was the president of the National Institute for Jewish Hospice.

His brother, Rabbi Norman Lamm, served as the chancellor at Yeshiva University until his retirement in 2013 following a 60-year association with the university.

Along with his son David, Lamm is survived by his wife, Shirley; his daughter, Dodi Lamm, and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by a daughter, Judith Young.

—JTA News and Features

Aerospace pioneer Simon Ramo dies at 103

Aerospace pioneer Simon Ramo, father of America’s intercontinental ballistic missile system and son of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, has died at 103.

Ramo died June 27 of natural causes at his home in Santa Monica, Calif.

Ramo was a key player in the development of America’s military technology over the past 50 years and in the creation of Southern California’s aerospace industry.

He was born in 1913 in Salt Lake City, the son of storekeeper Benjamin Ramo, a Russian Jewish immigrant, and Clara (nee Trestman) Ramo, a Polish Jewish immigrant.

“Si” Ramo was not active in the Jewish community or in Jewish causes, but in a 1996 oral history interview, conducted by Frederik Nebeker for the Center for the History of Electrical Engineering, Ramo traced his name back to 15th-century Spain.

“The name Ramo originated in Spain in 1492 during the Inquisition,” he recounted. At the time there were no Spanish surnames ending in “o,” but the country’s monarchy assigned the letter to Jews who converted to Catholicism to avoid deportation, Ramo noted.

The reason, he added, was to make sure that so-called conversos were “conspicuously identifiable to see if they were really practicing Catholics.”

A man of numerous talents, Ramo excelled as a violinist and entered the University of Utah on a full musical scholarship. However, after hearing a recital by Jasha Heifetz and realizing that he could never equal the master violinist, Ramo switched to an engineering curriculum.

An ardent tennis player, as well as a prolific inventor, Ramo became the oldest person to receive a U.S. patent, on the use of computer-learning in education, at age 100.

He was the author or co-author of 62 books on a wide range of subjects, including such titles as “To Wit: A Sense of Humor – A Mandatory Tool of Management,” “Let Robots Do the Dying” and “Tennis by Machiavelli.”

Ramo’s wife of 71 years, Virginia (nee Smith) died in 2009. He is survived by two sons, James and Alan, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

—JTA News and Features

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