Yehuda Lev, an iconoclastic journalist and veteran of World War II and Israel’s War of Independence, who established a European underground route to smuggle Holocaust survivors to Palestine, died on Aug. 3 in Providence, R.I., after a prolonged illness. He was 86.
This column, which you will recognize as an obituary if the editors remember to frame the accompanying photo in black, came about as follows.
I first met Yehuda Lev at a job interview. It was September 1985. He had heard that we were planning to start a Jewish community newspaper, The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, and that I had been appointed the editor. Yehuda had been publishing a community community newsletter called “A Majority of One” and, as he told me, knew the LA Jewish community from the inside out. He had come to offer his services.
Recently, I told some friends that I was going to accompany my younger daughter while she tried on wedding dresses. Their reactions were as follows: From the women: "How very sweet"; "How lovely to bond with your daughter"; "I'm sure you'll enjoy it."
From the men: "Bring your checkbook
Other than paying his share of the bills, the father of the bride has two principal responsibilities when his daughter marries.
My brother, who at 70 is younger than me by two years, has a world-class collection of the mysteries of Agatha Christie and a complete set of the novels of Anthony Trollope. They are being joined, gradually, by the Greek historians and Galsworthy's Forsythe Saga.
When the editors of The Jewish Journal, along withpublisher Stanley Hirsh, started planning an issue to commemorateIsrael's 50th anniversary, we were committed to something other thana "coffee-table" paper. We wanted it to be highly readable andentertaining, definitely, but also filled with stories and newsarticles that were immediate and compelling and newsworthy -- notjust gloss or an endless series of superlatives.
I visited Los Angeles recently and learned thattwo of those dialogues, in which I had been active, had expiredwithout ceremony. The Cousin's Club, which survived eight years oftension, argument and even, on occasion, genuine dialogue, was nomore. And the Arab-Jewish Speakers Bureau, born of the famoushandshake joining Rabin and Arafat in the White House Rose Garden,has likewise departed from the scene.