Sivan Hamburger, one of the longstanding, staunch leaders of the Bureau of Jewish Education (BJE), died June 3, at the age of 87.
Hamburger was a passionate Labor Zionist, who as a young, idealistic high school student, spent a year in the Land of Israel, during the time it was still called Palestine. His love of Israel, Hebrew and Jewish learning followed him throughout his life.
For the past five decades, he served as a member of the board of the BJE, and for several terms as a vice president of the agency. However, he will be best remembered for his strong sense of justice and equality and his devotion to benefiting Jewish educators in our community.
He is the man who championed the Code of Personnel Practices for Educators in the days when that concept was a novelty. He understood that teachers were essential to the provision of quality Jewish education. Sivan emphasized the importance of educating "the whole child," and that Jewish learning, general education, arts, and formal and informal experiences, were integral to the growth and development of successive generations of Jewish youth.
In addition to chairing the BJE's Committee on School Personnel, he also served on the Bureau's School Affiliation and Standards Committee. This devotion to Jewish education was shared with his beloved wife, Betty, who also served with him at the BJE and other numerous organizations committed to Israel, Jewish education and community. He was a loving husband, father and grandfather who took pleasure in seeing Betty's daughter, Faith Gershbock, assume her role as an active BJE and Jewish community volunteer.
Dr. Gil Graff, BJE executive director, said, "Sivan Hamburger was a model of the Torah of Life and of chesed. He was born and died in the month of Sivan, but not before kindling a light which -- as that of the Menorah of old -- will continue to glow, long beyond the hand that lit it."
He is survived by his wife, Betty; son, Don (Kathleen); daughter, Keren (Jim) Lieberman; and grandson, David McIntyre -- Bureau of Jewish Education
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