Reporter’s Notebook

March 6, 2014
BY Melissa Gerr

gerr_mellisa_blogIn the short time I’ve been writing for JT I have met some truly remarkable people in Baltimore’s Jewish community. Jake Levin, who passed away March 1 at the age of 98, was one of them.

I met Jake last October, and like other people I have had the good fortune to profile, I was allowed to peer into the window of his life for a few hours: to learn about who and what he loved, his fondest memories and some of his personal challenges. In the few months since that time, I came to know some of his family and also visited him in the hospital shortly after a surgery. He was still full of life, even in recovery. He excitedly interrupted himself tell me a joke in fact.

Today, after writing his obituary for the JT, I attended his funeral. There were people of all ages there to pay tribute to an exceptional life well lived, and words were shared about him that were full of love and even laughter.

When I met him last year he shared all sorts of stories and quips during our interview; one has really stuck with me. It was his answer to this question: What is your secret to longevity?

“I tell people, please don’t be negative; be positive,” said Jake. “That’s how you have longevity. It takes people. They say in Jewish nor a steyn zol zayn aleyn — only a stone should be alone, not people. Be with people.”

And today, at his final tribute surrounded by loving family and friends, he was definitely not alone.

mgerr@jewishtimes.com


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