The Eulogizer: Architect Gerald Abramovitz, Baltimore author Ben Herman, Sen. Ron Wyden’s mother


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Learn about the life accomplishments of famous and not-so-famous Jews who have passed away recently. Write to the Eulogizer at Read previous columns here.

Gerald Abramovitz, 82, architect

Gerald Abramovitz, an architect and designer whose signature piece, a cantilevered desk lamp, is featured in the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection, died June 16 at 82, three weeks after being mugged and beaten on a friend’s doorstep on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

Abramovitz, who was born in South Africa, studied architecture at the University of Pretoria and design at London’s Royal College of Art and then worked in South Africa. He designed an award-winning chair for the international furniture company Knoll, and the cantilever desk lamp of aluminum and steel for British design firm Best and Lloyd.

"He was a very dynamic, creative, charming person," said Gene Koretz, a retired journalist. "He had the exuberance of an 18-year-old, and he was still designing."

Abramovitz was awaiting entrance to Koretz’s building when he was attacked.

Benjamin Herman, 84, Baltimore author

Benjamin Herman, a writer who wove tales of life in his part of Baltimore for decades, died June 6 at 84.

While he was a high school English teacher, Herman sold his first article to a Sunday magazine supplement in Baltimore in 1950 and continued writing for decades about the residents and former residents of that city. Herman said in 1996 that he never forgot the "thrill of that first $15 check" for his magazine piece.

He later worked for the Maryland Education Department as a writer, but continued to turn out articles and then books of local culture and color. A Baltimore Sun reviewer said Herman’s first book was “a delightful stroll through East Baltimore as it was 40-odd years ago… They are stories of the people, good and bad, smart and dumb, who made up the neighborhood; stories of the Hebrew school; the synagogue; the hospital, and Uncle Bimbo’s store; of neighborhood scandals; tragedies and good times."

Herman’s final book, “Green Dust of the Milky Way,” dealt with Dundalk and Jewish East Baltimore in the 1930s. Ben’s writing "appeals to people in Dundalk, and to Jewish people as well. Dundalk was a charming place, and Ben captured it,” said Dorothy Harris, Herman’s eighth-grade English teacher at Dundalk Junior High School.

Herman was a medic with U.S. occupation forces in Italy during World War II and later earned a bachelor’s degree in history at the Johns Hopkins University.

Edith Wyden, 91, Shoah survivor, mother of Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden

Edith R. Wyden, mother of U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who fled to Iraq from German with her family at the beginning of World War II, died June 19 at 91.

Edith Wyden was an industrial economist, researcher and reference librarian. She worked at Stanford Research Institute in Menlo Park, Calif., and was a World War II veteran of the Women’s Army Corps.

"My mother was my role model," Wyden said.

Hadassah mourns Charlotte Bloomberg

Charlotte R. Bloomberg, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s mother, who died June 19 at 102, was the oldest living alumna of Hadassah’s Young Judaea program, the organization said.

“The Jewish people, Israel and Hadassah have lost a truly inspirational figure, a role model and a friend,” said Hadassah National President Nancy Falchuk. “We are tremendously sad at her passing but also incredibly grateful for the legacy she left us and the rich, full life she shared with us.”

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