Sunday, July 18, 2010

David Twersky z"l

David Twersky who passed away Friday night at the age of 60 can be seen in this photograph. He's the second from left, on the harmonica.

The picture is from late 1968, I think, and was taken in the Bronx moadon (clubhouse) of the Betar Zionist youth movement. David, you should know, was in Habonim. But, being a friendly and easy-going soul, despite his red hair (but that was his Chassidic genes, I guess), was well-integrated anongst the madrichim level of the various movements. And maybe opposites attract.

He hugged, joked and danced with us and also participated in deep philosphical and ideological discussions and debates on important and sometimes esoteric topic of Jewish life and culture.

I missed his last trip to Israel earlier this year when some friends got togteher and brought him over for one last look and the homeland. He had become, over the years, a professional journalist (see this obituary). He managed to get into a JTA report three weeks ago.

He summed up his working life this way:

"I co-founded the JSPS (1971-73) with David Kaufman.

"I lived in Israel for twelve years (1974-86) and edited an English-language journal of the kibbutz movement Shdemot. For four years (1982-86), I founded and edited a magazine for the Israeli labor party called Spectrum. It was for distribution among parties of the Socialist Internationale in Europe.

"In 1990, I came to work for the Forward as Washington bureau chief. From 1993-2002, I was the editor of The New Jersey Jewish News.

and continues there, and refers to scoops he messed up:

"What are the biggest stories you never got to publish?"

"There are two stories that I blew. One was about Jesse Jackson trying to become the leader of the NAACP. I had the scoop and didn't do anything with it. And I knew about the blind sheikh Abdul Rachman before anybody else, way before he was arrested. I will never forgive myself for f---ing that up."

Most recently he was Senior Adviser, International Affairs at the American Jewish Congress (but at this writing, nothing about David appears on their site).

Yehei Zichron Baruch - May his memory be for a blessing.


Jeff Maas writes me:

"I believe the guy in front of Twersky in your 1968 photo is Fred Jacobs. Freddy and David (z"l) were members of a jug band started when they were when in Ramaz and it is quite likely that they played at a Bx Moadon kumsitz"

Yes, that is Fred. Where is he?

David had identified him in an email to me earlier this year after his Israel trip and at least one other band member but I seem to have misplaced his email.


- - -


Jewish Ideas Daily said...

An obituary has been published in The New York Sun at

Reuven said...

David was one of the good guys. From our sparring at the Maozim or at other events to meetings with him at Gezer.
Chaval al d'avdin
Reuven Genn

YMedad said...

I left a comment there.

And there's a site for leaving memories here.

Chaim Fischgrund said...

I remember running into David when he was in Gezer from time to time.

I think the last time I saw him is when he came to the GA in Israel in 1998 - he actually interviewed at some time about the school for the paper in NJ. Besides being in Habonim I think his family were in a Yiddish commune in the Bronx, I would guess a Bundist connection.