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 email@example.com. Read previous columns here.
Louis Ossinsky Jr., 80, ex-B’nai B’rith District regional president
Louis Ossinsky Jr., an attorney who also was a Southern Regional B’nai B’rith president, died in Daytona Beach, Fla., on May 3 at 80.
Ossinsky had been president of the seven-state B’nai B’rith District 5 and headed Florida’s B’nai B’rith lodges, as well.
Outside of his professional interests, Ossinsky was a musician and composer, and had a symphony of his performed by the Florida Symphony Orchestra. Ossinsky began studying judo in his 40s, earned a fourth-degree black belt and taught classes in his 70s.
Ossinsky’s father, also a lawyer, was involved in founding NASCAR, and the racing group’s incorporation papers were signed in his family’s living room in Daytona Beach in 1948. Both of Ossinsky’s children became lawyers; they all graduated from Stetson Law School.
Natalie Brown, 45, kosher deli owner
Natalie Brown, who ran a kosher delicatessen in the New Orleans suburb of Metairie, La., for more than 20 years, died May 4 at 45.
The restaurant closed for nearly a year after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 but later reopened and became “a haven for Jewish volunteers who came to New Orleans to help with rebuilding efforts.”
Brown last came into the restaurant, which blends traditional Jewish dishes with kosher versions of Cajun foods such as gumbo and jambalaya, during Passover this year to help, even as she struggled with illness.
Esther Loeb, 87, Holocaust survivor in Nashville
Esther Loeb, one of the last remaining Holocaust survivors in Nashville, Tenn., and a participant in community Holocaust education programs, died at 87 on May 5.
Loeb was born in Poland in 1924 and fled to Ukraine in 1939 with her family following the Nazis’ invasion. She later spent time in a forced labor camp in Siberia, and traveled through Central Asia and Israel before making it to the United States.
The Tennessee Holocaust Commission recorded part of Loeb’s story: "At the Soviet border, small boats carried refugees across the river. Esther’s family boarded, but her mother was pulled back. Esther continues, ‘My father begged to switch with her. In Ukraine, they were robbed and had to go door to door begging for shelter. Then,’ Esther recalls, ‘out of nowhere, my mother found us. Her legs were swollen from walking for miles in sub-zero temperatures.’ They lived in a barn for two weeks before the Russian Army found them and dispatched them to Siberia. Esther’s father suddenly fell ill and died. Her pregnant mother gave birth to a boy who died of starvation before his first birthday."
At the time, she lived on boiled grass, begged Nazi guards for help for her ill father, walked miles in sub-zero temperatures, and even faced a bear.
Loeb said she spoke to students and others because “they are the future of our country” and Holocaust education is needed “so it will never happen again.”
Arthur Laurents, 93, Broadway, Hollywood writer, director
The Eulogizer wants to note the death of Arthur Laurents, 93, author of the script for “West Side Story," “Gypsy," and numerous other major Broadway and Hollywood hits. A full appreciation of his long and creative career is forthcoming.