Naomi Levine, who as government director of the American Jewish Congress within the Nineteen Seventies was the primary girl to steer a big Jewish protection group, and who later turned an instrumental pressure within the transformative growth of the US. New York College in a top-tier establishment, died Jan.14 at her residence in West Palm Seashore, Florida. He was 97 years outdated.
The demise was confirmed by his daughter, Joan Kiddon.
Ms.Levine, who grew up within the Bronx within the Thirties, first aspired to develop into a public faculty instructor. However, as she stated, she was rejected after taking an oral examination as a result of she had a spice and determined to comply with the legislation as an alternative. She attended Columbia Legislation College, the place, amongst different college students within the Forties, there have been ladies as distinguished as pioneering feminist politician Bella Abzug, labor lawyer Judith Vladeck and federal decide Constance. Baker Motley.
Within the fifties, Ms.Levine united u American Jewish Congress as a lawyer on his Legislation and Social Motion Fee. Right here, typically in partnership with the NAACP Authorized Protection Fund, has written briefs on decisive circumstances of the Supreme Courtroom, together with Brown v. Board of Schooling, which dismantled segregation in public colleges, and Sweatt v. Painter, who efficiently challenged the “separate however equal” doctrine established by Plessy v. Ferguson.
In 1963 Ms. Levine helped Rabbi Joachim Prinz write “The Difficulty is Silence, ”A speech that expresses solidarity with the civil rights motion, he stated mandate moments earlier than the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. made his well-known “I Have a Dream” speech in March in Washington. He then taught a category at John Jay School of Legal Justice on legislation and racial relations in policing.
Whereas pursuing her legislation profession, Ms.Levine typically finds herself surrounded by males. “I knew I deserved to be right here as a result of I used to be good as, and infrequently smarter than everybody else within the room,” she stated. as soon as stated. “And if I saved my mouth shut on function, I might do so much.”
In 1972, Ms.Levine was appointed government director of the American Jewish Congress, a place that introduced her visibility and affect. In an interview with the New York Occasions that 12 months, she mirrored on the ladies’s motion and the stability of obligations between husbands.
“I all the time really feel just a little responsible after I spend an excessive amount of time away from residence, and if my daughter obtained sick, she would keep residence and handle her – I don’t anticipate my husband to try this,” she stated. “Women as we speak assume otherwise, and so they’re proper.”
He summed up his imaginative and prescient as follows: “The ladies’s ebook might be appropriate, nevertheless it’s not my type.”
In 1978, Ms.Levine left the American Jewish Congress and, grasping for a brand new problem, she accepted a place at NYU She was tasked with serving to struggling establishments understand their ambitions of changing into a top-tier college.
On the time, NYU was not the distinguished tutorial establishment it’s as we speak. He had a meager endowment and, along with his crumbling campus buildings and darkish dormitories, was struggling to draw college students. Mrs. Levine began commanders the college’s cost towards change as its predominant fundraiser, and she or he shortly tried to be gifted on the strategic artwork of elevating cash.
Over the course of 20 years, it has raised greater than $ 2 billion; by the tip of his time period, he was elevating about $ 300 million a 12 months. In 1985, he launched an unprecedented $ 1 billion fundraising marketing campaign, which earned him some skepticism, however when the very fact was made a decade later, the initiative was celebrated as one. of essentially the most bold efforts in increased training.
By the start of the twenty first century, NYU had reinvented itself, and its growth continued to speed up by means of Decrease Manhattan. The title of a 2001 article within the New York Occasions referred to as Ms. Levine, who was then a senior vice chairman, the “Dynamo on the Coronary heart of NYU’s Fund-Elevating”; the article stated that the expression “Chat with Naomi” had develop into widespread within the college administration.
“It’s not possible to overstate Naomi’s contribution to NYU’s transformation,” stated John Sexton, president of the college from 2002 to 2015, in a phone interview. “Anybody who is aware of the generative forces that took NYU from its nadir, which is on the creation of its arrival, the place it was in 2000 and past, is aware of that it was one of many predominant mills of these forces.”
After resigning as head of fundraising on the College, Ms. Levine established the George H. Heyman Jr. Middle. for Philanthropy and Fundraising at NYU, the place she additionally taught a graduate course referred to as “Ethics, Legislation and Governance of the Council in Non-Revenue Organizations.” She retired in 2004.
Ms. Levine’s dedication to social points has remained a cross line in her profession, expressed maybe extra personally to Camp Greylock, the all-girls summer time camp within the Adirondacks that she curated from 1955 to 1971.
A mail ship would ship copies of the New York Occasions to the camp, and Ms. Levine moderated discussions about present occasions with campers in a eating corridor. She reluctantly closed the camp to give attention to her work on the American Jewish Congress Many campers, who all the time proudly name themselves “Greylock Women,” have grown to develop into leaders in legislation, enterprise, and drugs.
“No matter age, I wished these ladies to know that you are able to do something and be something,” stated Mrs. Kiddon, her daughter. “He thought he might empower these ladies for all times.”
Naomi Ruth Bronheim was born on April 15, 1923, within the Bronx. His father, Nathan, was a salesman. His mom, Malvina (Mermelstein) Bronheim, was secretary of the hospital. When Naomi was a baby, she helped put together a pot of cholent flanken stew on Friday evening in preparation for Saturday, and her mom sewed garments for the household.
Naomi attended Hunter School and graduated from Hunter School with a BA earlier than enrolling at Columbia Legislation College, the place she turned editor of the Legislation Assessment. In 1948 she married Leonard Levine, an accountant who had fought within the third wave in Normandy; he died in 2001.
Along with her daughter, Ms.Levine is survived by two granddaughters and a great-granddaughter.
After Ms. Levine retired, NYU acknowledged her with a Presidential Medal in 2005. She stays on the board of the Edgar M. Bronfman Middle for Jewish Pupil Life on the faculty and in addition advises the Taub Middle for Israel Research.
A number of years in the past, Ms. Levine moved to West Palm Seashore, the place he started writing a memoir tentatively referred to as “Historical past and Me.” She additionally began a ebook and film membership at Kravis Middle (which her daughter described as “the Lincoln Middle for West Palm Seashore”) the place members mentioned social points. After seeing it ”To Kill a Chicken”(1962), they talked about racism in America; after “Rib d’Adam”(1942), shared their views on sexism and gender inequality.
Ms. Levine hoped to sooner or later present the 1933 movie model of “Small ladies. “In 2016 he stated In Palm Seashore Each day Information that Katharine Hepburn’s capricious portrayal of the principle character, Jo March, had impressed her when she noticed the movie as a baby.
“She wished to be free to be an abnormal girl,” Ms. Levine stated. “That influenced my considering.”