The last of their kind

The last of their kind

In January, Irving Gall died at 94; last week, so did Harry Lerman, at 88.

Their names might be familiar to readers of this newspaper, as well as other local outlets, because they were frequent letter-writers.

Both of these men – who both lived in Paramus – were community builders to their cores.

Both moved to the suburbs from the city when they were young, forging the path that so many others took just a bit later. Both lived here for many years, were active in their communities, worked hard, and were proudly and openly and overwhelmingly Jewish. They were leaders in the shuls, in those golden years when shuls did nothing but grow. They remembered the war (when you say “the war” in this context, you mean only World War II, the war by which their generation defined itself). They were family men, whose lifelong marriages modeled love for their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. They both cared passionately about the Jewish people and about Israel. They both had strong opinions, which they voiced loudly.

Mr. Gall made his fortune in the pet industry, where his keen understanding of the way that we Americans dote on our animal companions helped him foresee our needs. Mr. Lerman died the way he had lived, with conviction. His last minutes were at a discussion group at the JCC of Paramus – the shul to which both Mr. Gall and he belonged, and in which both were highly visible – and his last words were his opinion on Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech.

We at the Jewish Standard will miss Mr. Gall and Mr. Lerman. They read this newspaper religiously and responded to it vigorously. They loved this community fervently and were rooted in it unshakably. Their deaths mark a generational shift. We hope that those of us who follow them will inherit their passion, commitment, and conviction.