David Krakow, z”l, was born in 1926 to Rose Feurstein and Benny Krakow. He grew up on the lower east side of Manhattan, speaking only Yiddish until he started school. From his teen years until the time of his death at the age of 92 on January 23, David was devoted to the Jewish people and to our homeland, Israel.
As a teen, David became painfully aware of the tragedy unfolding in Europe. He joined Betar, an organization founded by Vladimir Jabotinsky, who sounded the alarm on the threat to Europe’s Jews long before others were aware or concerned. David became a member of the national leadership of Betar and editor of Hadar, the organization’s publication. He devoted himself to educating people about the desperate situation for Jews in Europe and the urgent need to get them out. David joined the Irgun and, as a member, he actively assisted in efforts to rescue Jews and establish the State of Israel. He was editor of the English Etzel news bulletin. In later years, David was one of the founders of the Center for Russian Jewry and its offshoot, the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry. In 1980, Menachem Begin presented David with the Jabotinsky Centennial Citation for his efforts on behalf of the Jewish people and Israel.
David was a lawyer by profession, but a writer by passion. He had degrees in both disciplines: a BS in journalism and a JD in law. Throughout his life, David wrote volumes of work on Jewish issues. His work was particularly focused on the struggle for the establishment of the State of Israel in the aftermath of the Holocaust. Just recently, David was interviewed by Toldot Israel, an Israeli organization dedicated to recording and permanently archiving the video testimonies of individuals who helped found the State of Israel. The archive is housed in Israel’s national library.
David was a resident of Teaneck, New Jersey, and a member of Congregation Beth Sholom. He leaves behind his loving wife of 67 years, Miriam Krakow, and four of his five children, Dan, Rena, Josh and Doron. His youngest son, Jonathan, died of a brain tumor at the age of 25 in 1994. David is also survived by eight grandchildren, Talia, Matan, Hagit, Yonatan, Arielle, Aaron, Noa and Elan; and 5 great grandchildren, Liah, Hodaya, Neta, Amit, Tal and a baby girl due in May.
The number of others whose lives were touched by him is truly countless, a reflection of the generous, intelligent and indescribably kind man he was. The name David means beloved, and there is no name more apt for him. He lived an extraordinary life, and he lived it to the fullest, and perhaps this is why it feels like there is a chasm in the world since he died.
Donations in David’s memory can be made to the Jonathan Fund, which provides scholarships to children in families affected by cancer. The fund, established after Jonathan’s death, enables children to attend Sprout Lake (Young Judaea), without cost. (The Jonathan Fund 575 8th Avenue, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10018.)
By Rena, Arielle and Noa Krakow