A Sad Blog

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At first I was skeptical. No one wants to read an entire blog just about people who have died, right? Seems like kind of a buzzkill. But I’ve been converted into a believer.

The new blog over at JTA, “The Eulogizer,” written by Alan Abbey, is exactly what it sounds like. Abbey sifts through the news to find Jews, both famous and less famous, who have recently died. He then blogs eulogies for them.

It might seem strange to talk about someone’s life in an informal setting like a blog. But Abbey’s writing style is refreshingly laid back while also being respectful for the dead. And as an added bonus to us, we get to learn about some pretty awesome Jews.

Just read this example:

Marvin Levin, a real estate developer who wore a wire in his cowboy boots during a major FBI anti-corruption sting of California’s state government in the 1980s, died Nov. 19 at 76.

In the wake of the FBI investigation, several lawmakers, state leaders, legislative staffers and a lobbyist werecharged, and the hard feelings have yet to subside. Some of the reader comments (later removed) on a newspaper article recounting Levin’s life and death were scorching.

Levin was an invaluable informant in the sting, which ended in 1988 when investigators raided offices in the state Capitol. Levin’s boot-borne tape recorder had taped dozens of meetings with politicians and legislative staffers. The sheriff and undersheriff of Yolo County, California, also were convicted after they attempted to extort money from Levin for a re-election campaign.

Levin told The Los Angeles Times in 1988 that he was motivated to end Sacramento corruption because he had experienced it firsthand and “somebody had to.” All he received for his efforts were $1,800 to cover expenses, including a paint job for his 1978 Buick and the cowboy boots purchased at the behest of the FBI because they didn’t think he was “flashy enough.” But the activity cost him dearly; his wife said he had three heart attacks.

Levin was one of three children of Jewish refugees from Russia. His father was a storekeeper. He moved to Florida nine years ago.

Pretty cool stuff. Check out “The Eulogizer” any chance you can get.

Posted on December 27, 2010

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