The Eulogizer: British Jewish media executive, Sholom Aleichem’s physician grandson

JERUSALEM (JTA) – The Eulogizer is a new column (soon-to-be blog) that highlights the life accomplishments of famous and not-so-famous Jews who have passed away recently. Learn about their achievements, honor their memories and celebrate Jewish lives well lived with The Eulogizer. Write to the Eulogizer at eulogizer@jta.org. Read previous columns here.

Vivienne Harris, 89, co-founder of British Jewish newspaper

Vivienne Harris, 89, who worked with her husband to found the Jewish Telegraph, now a regional publishing powerhouse in northern England with editions in Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool and Glasgow, died March 4 at 89.

Harris received an Order of the British Empire — MBE — for her professional and charitable works, and was still active as the company’s financial director until days before her death.

Her son, Paul, the Telegraph’s editor, said that "I always said that she had three children — myself, my brother and the Jewish Telegraph. The paper was very much her baby, and she nurtured it like a child for 60 years. Even in her 90th year, she was devoted to the company."

Israel’s ambassador to the United Kingdon, Ron Prosor, said that Harris "embodied what we should all be proud of: Jewish values, Zionistic determination and motivation of someone who established the Jewish Telegraph with her late husband with just the 10 fingers that she had, against all the odds. A remarkable woman who I had the privilege of meeting and talking to. It’s a great loss."

Sholom Omi Waife, 92, physician and grandson of Sholom Aleichem

Sholom Omi Waife, a physician, writer, medical researcher and pioneer in medical education who was the grandson of the Yiddish writer Sholom Aleichem, died March 6 at 92.

Waife authored educational texts for medical students, columns for physicians’ magazines, created a continuing education program for physicians and wrote medical education films.

His father, Benjamin Waife, also known as B.Z. Goldberg, was a prominent journalist, editor and lecturer who married a daughter of Sholom Aleichem.  

Sholom Waife was born in Brooklyn in 1919 and received a medical degree from New York University. In later years he was a board member of the Indianapolis Symphony  and WFYI public radio in Indianapolis.

Jack Gottlieb, 80, composer, author, Bernstein assistant

Jack Gottlieb, a composer who brought synagogue melodies to concert halls and who worked closely with the legendary composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein, died Feb. 23 at 80.

Gottlieb’s sacred work "Love Songs for Sabbath" was performed at  the College of St. Catherine in Saint Paul, Minn., in 1967 and was  “perhaps the first full synagogue service under Catholic auspices,” according to The New York Jewish Week. Secular compositions included operas and cabaret, theater and choral songs. In 2002, the Library of Congress chose his "Presidential Suite" for its "I Hear America Singing" website.

Gottlieb was Bernstein’s assistant at the New York Philharmonic from 1958 to 1966. He edited three Bernstein books and was the senior member of the Leonard Bernstein Office. Gottlieb’s 2010 memoir, "Working With Bernstein," “presents fresh, sensitive, and revealing information.” 

Gottlieb served as the Leonard Bernstein Scholar-In-Residence of the Philharmonic. In 2004 he published  "Funny, It Doesn’t Sound Jewish: How Yiddish Songs and Synagogue Melodies Influenced Tin Pan Alley, Broadway, and Hollywood." He is set to receive a posthumous honorary doctorate from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York.

Even more on author Moacyr Scliar

More fascinating material on Brazilian author Moacyr Scliar, whose recent death at 73 was covered by The Eulogizer,  continues to emerge. Ilan Stavans, a professor of Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College, offered a lively and fascinating appreciation of  him in the Forward: “Scliar and his career epitomize a journey from the outskirts of the literary environment to its center. … Scliar’s lasting contribution is to be found in his soft, intellectually minded humor. It emerged from the crossroad where Jewish and Brazilian cultures interact: an irreverent humor that serves as a way to respond to the always-looming apocalypse. That humor enabled him to laugh at history — or better, with history.”

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