Obituaries for June 15, 2017


Al Erlick, longtime Jewish journalist, served as acting editor of WJW

Albert H. Erlick, a longtime editor of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent and, after his retirement, acting editor at Washington Jewish Week, died May 24. He was 88.

In 1998, four years after his retirement from the Exponent, he began commuting weekly between Philadelphia and Rockville to lead Washington Jewish Week while its owner searched for a permanent editor. His stint in Washington lasted a year.

“When Al came to Washington Jewish Week, he was a living legend in this business,” said Craig Burke, publisher and chief executive officer of Mid-Atlantic Media, which publishes Washington Jewish Week. “We were able to take advantage of his wealth of knowledge and experience. We treasure the time we had with him.”

“Al was a true gentleman,” said Aaron Leibel, who was then the newspaper’s arts editor and copy editor. “What I recall most about him was his passion for journalism, always telling the staff how much fun it was to put out a newspaper.”

He was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on July 19, 1928, and moved to Philadelphia in 1935, where he attended Temple University. At the end of World War II, he served with the first occupational troops in Japan under Gen. Douglas MacArthur as a member of the office staff.

Philadelphia was his home until 2015, when he and his wife, Barbara, moved to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to be close to their daughter.

Erlick won multiple journalism awards for a series of editorials on the search for peace in the Middle East and for a series of articles on his visit to refuseniks in the former Soviet Union.

He was also the recipient of the American Jewish Press Association’s annual award for journalistic integrity. He interviewed world leaders from around the globe including multiple U.S presidents at the White House, and participated in many panels relating to political, social and religious unrest at home and abroad.

Before he worked at the Exponent, where he served for 24 years, Erlick edited the weekly Motion Picture Exhibitor magazine for over a decade. He also co-founded the Center City Philadelphian in 1959, which went on to become the Philadelphia Magazine.

All the while, he participated in his other lifelong love, the theater. He toured with national productions of “The Fantasticks” and “Julius Caesar,” among others. At age 87, he performed in Florida Children’s Theatre’s family series production of “Seussical” and, at 88, in its version of “Mary Poppins.”

A lifelong baseball enthusiast, Erlick never stopped rooting for the Cleveland Indians, with the Phillies a close second.

He is survived by his wife, Barbara, and their children Janet, of Fort Lauderdale, and Kenneth, of Portland, Ore.; grandchildren Jeremy, Benjamin, Gabriel, Marcus and Jason. He is also survived by his sister, friend and biggest fan, Mickey Zacher; and his brother, Samuel Dolnick, and their children.

Contributions may be made to Florida Children’s Theatre ( or to the International Center for Journalists (

Eliezer Jaffe, father of Israeli social work, dies

Eliezer Jaffe, considered a father of social work in Israel, has died at the age of 83.
Jaffe, who died on May 25, was a founder of Israel’s first academic school of social work, the Paul Baerwald School of Social Work at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

A professor of social work specializing in philanthropy and nonprofit management, he was the first Centraid-L. Jacques Menard Professor for the Study of Nonprofit Organizations, Volunteering and Philanthropy at Hebrew University and co-chairman of the university’s Center for the Study of Philanthropy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He was a professor emeritus at Hebrew University at the time of his death.

More than a week before his death, Jaffe was presented with the Bonei Zion Prize for lifetime achievement awarded annually by Nefesh B’Nefesh to immigrants from English-speaking countries in recognition of their significant contributions to Israel.
Jaffe immigrated to Israel from Cleveland, Ohio in 1960, three years after he spent time in Israel volunteering in the immigrant transit camps.

Between 1970 and 1972, at the request of Mayor Teddy Kollek, he headed the Jerusalem Municipal Department of Family and Community Services, introducing major administrative, conceptual and program reforms, that continue to be observed throughout the country today.

He also served as a consultant to several government ministerial committees dealing with topics such as poverty and disadvantaged youth, and headed by the sitting prime minister or president.

He founded a website and wrote a book both titled: “Giving Wisely: The Israel Guide to Non-Profit Organizations.” The book contained profiles of nearly 30,000 Israeli and nonprofit organizations. The website was closed down about six years ago, after the Israeli government took over the function of vetting nonprofits.

Jaffe founded the Israel Free Loan Association, which assisted the needy and new immigrants with interest-free loans; he also spent time working out personal repayment plans with them that also allowed others to benefit from such loans.

He is survived by his four children, grandchildren and other family members.

—JTA News and Features

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