July 21, 2005
Author & Former Jewish Journal Columnist David Margolis
Dies at 62
David Margolis, who lived and chronicled the transformation of an American hippie of the 1960s into a deeply spiritual resident of a West Bank settlement, died July 17 at the age of 62.
A Brooklyn native, Margolis was a widely published journalist, novelist and editor, who died of cancer and was buried near his home in Beit Yatir, in the Hebron Hills. Most recently, Margolis served as the Jewish World editor of the Jerusalem Report magazine. Between 1990-93, Margolis was a senior writer, investigative reporter and award-winning feature columnist for The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles.
Yehuda Lev, his colleague at the time, recalled his constant serious but civil discussions with Margolis on their differing religious and ideological beliefs.
"David never succumbed to extremism," Lev said. "He was that rare individual who combined idealism with practicality and overlaid them both with a protective layer of honesty."
Margolis described his hippie commune experiences in his first novel, "Change of Partners" (The Permanent Press), followed by "The Stepman" and a collection of short stories in "The Time of Wandering."
"I consider David the foremost chronicler of that slice of the Jewish '60s that went from rootless, hedonistic hippiedom into, somehow, a deeply spiritual engagement with Jewish life and the challenge of Zionism. That transformation is at the center of all his writing," said Martin Jaffee, professor of Jewish and international studies at the University of Washington.
Screenwriter and novelist Robert Avrech described Margolis as "a major American Jewish writer who never received the attention he deserved ... a master storyteller with a wicked sense of humor."
Producer-writer David Brandes recalled Margolis as "a true mensch and one of the sweetest people I ever met ... with a wry sense of humor and perceptive insights."
After moving with his family to Israeli in 1994, Margolis established himself as a successful freelance journalist for general and Jewish newspapers and magazines, created marketing material for major Israeli universities and hi-tech companies, and co-wrote the prize-winning CD-ROM, "Artrageous! The Amazing World of Art."
His writings were honored by the BBC, American Jewish Press Assn., the Israeli government, and the Center for Jewish Culture and Creativity, among others.
He is survived by his wife, Judith; children Hodya, Ephraim and Noa; grandchildren; mother; and two brothers. -- Tom Tugend, Contributing Editor
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