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A Tribute to Joseph Litvin

by: Meyer Levin

Sunday, October 31, 1982 we said farewell to a great and lovable human being. More than a hundred cars and four times as many people formed a funeral procession, the likes of which Raphael and Sacks said was the ‘first’ in their history.

What kind of a man was Joe Litvin, that he could touch the hearts of so many? What kind of man goes through life earning the love and respect of all those touched? How could a man, who belonged to the world, go through life and not have even one enemy? Those who knew Joe know that. Those of our lodge, who didn’t have the pleasure of listening to Joe speak to us, missed so much for Joe was very ill the last four years.

Before anyone of us began to realize how important the state of Israel was to us, and how important that we help, Joe had an uphill struggle and, strange as it may seem, a lot of opposition to the sale of Israel bonds. But Joe could talk and move us to tears when it concerned Israel. His love for Israel was infectious. He was a great teacher. He taught us to love our new, little homeland. The Israel Bond Program came into being in Philadelphia. We thank you and Israel thanks you, Joe Litvin.

That he was a student of the bible and our ancient history was soon recognized by Rabbi Rueben J. Magil, when he joined the congregation of Beth Zion Beth Israel Temple. How they loved to hear him speak. All his life he collected love like rich men accumulate money. But his riches were richer by far. He never lost an ounce and it compounded daily through his lifetime.

I loved my brother-in-law from the day, when I was seventeen, he married my sister, Celia, in 1929. For fifty-three years, he was the best friend I had in the world. When he married again to Esther, he gave us another sister to love.

It was her great love for him that sustained him in his grief. When he lost his first love, it was her unselfish love and care that lasted four years of agony, an ordeal no one should have to go through. Dear Esther, we, the family, can only repay you with love.

My son said, “If only the world was only made up of Uncle Joes.”

What more can I say? He said it all.

— Meyer Levin