Reform Jewish Movement Mourns Passing of Marvin Braiterman, Associate Director and Legal Counsel 1966-1973 of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
The leadership and staff of the Religious Action Center mourn the passing this week of Marvin Braiterman. In his work from 1966-1973 as the Religious Action Center’s Legal Counsel and Associate Director, Marvin was a powerful voice for justice and an effective advocate for the Reform Jewish Movement in the nation’s capital.
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WASHINGTON, October 22, 2003 -The leadership and staff of the Religious Action Center mourn the passing this week of Marvin Braiterman. In his work from 1966-1973 as the Religious Action Center’s Legal Counsel and Associate Director, Marvin was a powerful voice for justice and an effective advocate for the Reform Jewish Movement in the nation’s capital.
Al Vorspan, Director of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism during Marvin’s tenure and now Senior Vice President Emeritus of the Union for Reform Judaism, said today, “Marvin was one of the most brilliant, creative, and stimulating professionals we have ever had in the Reform Movement’s social action program. A superb lawyer, he particularly mastered the fields of civil rights, religious liberty and civil liberties. He was a very wise, joyous person to work with, and he made lasting contributions to the work of the Religious Action Center.”
Rabbi Richard G. Hirsch, the founding Director of the Religious Action Center, observed that “Marvin fulfilled the dictum of Ecclesiastes: ‘Whatsoever your hands find to do, do with all your might.’ There was no more dedicated champion for justice; a truly principled person who took courageous, sometimes unpopular, stands on some of the most vital moral issues of that tumultuous era and who never wavered in his search for equality for all human beings.”
Rabbi David Saperstein, current Director of the RAC, commented, “Marvin was a truly brilliant thinker, strategist and writer. His pamphlet on ‘Religion in the Public School,’ was a standard for many years; his generous and wise advice to me and to the RAC during my first years here were invaluable.”
Marvin’s work at the RAC was bookended by his efforts to enhance the quality of life for all Americans. Before joining the RAC staff, Marvin went to Mississippi as a Freedom Rider, working as a lawyer on behalf of those who were beaten or arrested while trying to force America to live up to its ideals. In his later career at New England College, Marvin served as professor of law and public policy, held a number of leadership positions at the College, and was instrumental with his wife, Professor Thea Braiterman, in developing programs providing educational opportunities for older citizens. Throughout, Marvin maintained a zeal for tikkun olam, and his passing represents the loss of a true tzaddik.
Marvin passed away in Henniker, New Hampshire, after an extended illness.
We extend our condolences to Marvin’s family, including his wife Thea, daughter Marta and son-in-law Rabbi Irwin Tanenbaum; son Ken and daughter-in-law Shirlee Smith; son David and daughter-in-law Lisa Braiterman; grandchildren Isaiah, Leora, Jacob, Noah, and Shira; his brother Sheldon Braiterman and his sister Phyllis Cohen.
Condolences may be sent to Thea Braiterman, 40 Western Ave., Henniker, New Hampshire 03242.