Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Eleazar Lipsky is Dead at 81; Writer, Lawyer, Jewish Activist

February 19, 1993
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Eleazar Lipsky, a novelist and lawyer active in Jewish affairs, died Sunday in New York of leukemia. He was 81.

Lipsky, the son of writer and Zionist leader Louis Lipsky, was a co-founder of the New York Jewish Week and was, in the 1960s, president of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Lipsky saw his works, which received critical praise, performed on the screen and on radio.

The productions were based on mystery novels and courtroom dramas, whose stuff of life was based on his own experiences with legal and courtroom procedure.

Lipsky, who practiced law until three weeks ago, was an assistant district attorney in Manhattan in the 1940s and later had a general law practice.

He wrote a 100-page manuscript which became the basis for a 1947 film, “Kiss of Death.”

Later that year, the work was published as a novel, too.

He wrote a detective novel, “The People Against O’Hara,” which was published in 1950 and made into a film the next year starring Spencer Tracy.

Lipsky wrote a series of radio plays under the title “The Indictment,” which were broadcast in the late 1950s.

Among his non-detective novels were “Lincoln McKeever,” published in 1953, and “The Devil’s Daughter,” published in 1969.

Lipsky joined his love of mystery and law by being legal counsel to the Mystery Writers of America. He was also counsel to the New York Artists Equity Association.

He was on the board of the American Jewish League for Israel, a 1,600-member organization founded 40 years ago to support Israel with no affiliation to any political party.

Lipsky was warmly remembered by Julius Berman, JTA board chairman, who said, “Although I was not associated with the JTA when he was president, I’ve always marveled at both his dedication to the Jewish people throughout the years and the fact that within JTA, even after his service as president, he continued to share with us his reservoir of knowledge and sage advice.”

Lipsky was collecting his father’s papers for the archives on Jewish history at Brandeis, said his son, Michael.

He said that one of his father’s first jobs was on a Jewish weekly newspaper in the 1930s. “And he was also a fund raiser in the 1930s for Zionist causes. Family history includes his going to Texas to small towns to raise funds for Palestine.”

Recommended from JTA