Tuesday, February 07, 2006

ברוך דין אמת

My thesis advisor, Professor Aryeh Leo Motzkin died last Saturday in Jerusalem. I learned a tremendous amount from him and will miss him greatly.

16 comments:

Daphne Motzkin Goldberg said...

Dear Yehuda, I came across this page one sleepless night. My dad came to me in my dream a few nights ago and told me he could hear me and he was doing well. I miss him greatly, but I see he lives on in each and every one of us. Be well. Daphne Motzkin.

Anonymous said...

I knew Aryeh Motzkin when he taught at Boston University. We studied Maimonides together; he was a good man, who knew the texts well. Sorry to hear that he is gone.

Anonymous said...

A teacher of mine as well. I fondly remember conversations in his Jerusalem apartment on philosophy, food and that peculiar vice of the philosophical type - gossip. He will be missed. My condolences to his daugthers of whom he bragged tremendously.

Anonymous said...

I had the privilege of knowing Dr. MOtzkin as a student and a mentor. I considered him to be my mentor, and my good friend in life. I've met him when I was 16 while attending college in Boston. I've studied philosophy with him, but also had the chance to talk to him about history of art, islamic architecture, the Middle Eastern culture and politics, culinary arts and music. He has supported me along the years, and we've always been in touch. I recently lost touch with him, to be specific last winter, due to a new job that I started. When the hostilities between Lebanon and Israel began, I sent him a long e-mail but never heard back. I have been wondering about him, and now I have finally received these sad news. I am devastated. He was a kind man, a wise man and most of all a gentle human being. My condolences to his daughers whom he loved dearly, and to his grandchildren whom he adored. I will miss him and there won't be another to fill his void. May God bless his soul.

Anonymous said...

I had the privilege of knowing Dr. MOtzkin as a student and a mentor. I considered him to be my mentor, and my good friend in life. I've met him when I was 16 while attending college in Boston. I've studied philosophy with him, but also had the chance to talk to him about history of art, islamic architecture, the Middle Eastern culture and politics, culinary arts and music. He has supported me along the years, and we've always been in touch. I recently lost touch with him, to be specific last winter, due to a new job that I started. When the hostilities between Lebanon and Israel began, I sent him a long e-mail but never heard back. I have been wondering about him, and now I have finally received these sad news. I am devastated. He was a kind man, a wise man and most of all a gentle human being. My condolences to his daughers whom he loved dearly, and to his grandchildren whom he adored. I will miss him and there won't be another to fill his void. May God bless his soul.

Anonymous said...

I was also a student and friend of Professor Motzkin and am very sad to learn of his death. His approach to thinking and his great respect for language have influenced me immeasurably. I work as a translator and I owe this mainly to Professor Motzkin, whose enthusiasm and love for languages and philosophy, among a great many other things, was infectious.
For those who knew him, Aryeh Motzkin's legacy will certainly live on in what we learned from him and in what we continue to learn and teach in our lives.
Brian Frank

Anonymous said...

I was a student of Professor Motzkin at Harvard Extension School
he taught courses on Plato, Nietzsche and Aristotle. He was
a wonderful lecturer helping the class to think deeply about the issues of philosophy esp the crucial turning points in Western thinking that led to the present. I think I liked his grasp of Nietsche the best, he loved Plato as well but in Nietsche he saw the challenge to Platonism. When he
lectured he would seem to become the philosopher he was teaching, he knew them all that well, you felt like you were actually listening to someone who lived long ago. Philosphy is a long running discussion between thinkers who are not all living at the same time however Prof Motzkin made these thinkers come alive somehow and magically exist all at the same time during his class.
William Hahn

Anonymous said...

I met Aryeh Motskin when we came to Israel from USSR in 1972. We share the last name and he thought we could be related. In fact he called me when I was still in the USSR getting my name from a friend of mine who came to Israel. I was a "refusenik" and he asked what he could do to help me get out of USSR. May be we were related 3-4 generations back but nobody knows. We met a few times and I was struck by his intelligence and deep dedication to the Jewish history. We lost touch since I came to Canada 30 years ago. When my younger son went to Harvard he found out that Aryeh lived in Boston. By the time we tried to contact him we learned he had left for Israel. I am very saddenned by his death. I'll always remember how he showed me a family tree going back several generations and he was trying to find where I belonged. I wish his daughters whom I remember as little girls the best

General Reading Room said...

Yehuda
We wish to inform all those who knew Aryeh Motzkin that we are having a memorial meeting on Sunday, May 27, 2007, in the General Reading Room of the Jewish National and University Library, on the Givat Ram campus of the Hebrew University, in honour of the generous donation, by his daughters, of books from his collection

General Reading Room said...

Time of ceremony is 19.30

Anonymous said...

Aryeh Motzkin is a man I never met but I've often pictured myself playing chess with him discussing Plato, Django and world peace. By all accounts he was a man whose boundless intellect was peppered by sensitivity. I think I would have enjoyed going to the opera with him as well.

Daphne said...

December 17, 2008
Dear Dad, I hope you have WiFi wherever you are... It has been nearly 3 years since you died. Hard to believe. I miss you every day, but it gets easier. I see you when I look in the mirror and whenever I look at my incredible 3 kids. Especially Daniel - who seems to have not just your brain (they all do), but your style of thinking. You would be proud, to say the least. Two days ago Daniel was accepted at St. John's College in Annapolis. I can see your smile and hear your words right now. Here is the paragraph in his application that answers the question: 'how did you first become interested in St. John's College. Tell about the individuals who influenced you:' "On February 4th, 2006 I received very sad news: my grandfather had died suddenly. He lived in Jerusalem and our family flew out that day to attend his funeral and mourn his death. My grandfather was one of the most significant individuals in my life and it was a great loss. He was a professor of philosophy and a student of life. He spent his entire existence expanding his mind and seeking knowledge, and he used to call me three times a week to share his thoughts, and to see how I was doing. He had a library of 15,000 books. His library was varied and fascinating. Naturally his philosophy collection was most extensive, but the breadth of his collection revealed his vast interest in just about everything: poetry, travel, architecture, politics and film. In the days after his death I walked around his apartment looking at his collection, trying to remember what we used to talk about, and feeling sad that he would not be there as I grew, and as my intellect evolved through the remainder of high school and college. I couldn't believe that when I finally took a philosophy course I wouldn't be able to just give him a call and discuss what I was learning and thinking about. My mom and my aunt decided to donate the majority of the collection to Hebrew University, where they offered to dedicate a section of the library to my grandfather, but they planned on selecting a couple of thousand of the books to take back and divide between them. The day before I flew back to the states, I pulled my mom aside and asked her if while they were dividing the collection, I could request one thing: I wanted his Great Books collection. I am not even sure why that particular set of books nearly jumped off that high shelf in his hallway, but it did. Perhaps it was something about the completeness; the conciseness; the representation of the range of ideas embedded in them that was somehow a microcosm of his entire library. When the boxes arrived, my mom took the Great Books out and put them on my shelf in my room. I have been looking at them and leafing through them for the past two and a half years. Early this fall as I was solidifying the list of colleges that I would apply to, my mom approached me and said that she remembered how her father used to say that there is one college in the country that provides the best liberal arts education, and was in his opinion, the most esteemed institution of higher learning in the US. That college was St. John's. She also remembered that right after my grandfather died, she received a condolence call from a very dear friend of his: Eva Brann. Professor Brann's latest book was sitting on the side table, next to the chair where he sat for hours reading his books. He was reading her book before he died. My mom, who tends to follow her intuition, encouraged me to get on the St. John's web site to check it out. It didn't take long to realize that St. John's is the absolutely perfect school for me. In fact, after reading about it and visiting St. John's I could not imagine going anywhere else. Although I don't believe in the supernatural and I am not superstitious, I know that the conviction of my grandfather's beliefs have clearly influenced the course of my life and have had a hand in my finding St. John's."
So there you have it dad. Your grandson will be reading the Great Books he inherited from you for the next 4 years at the very college you would have dreamt he would attend. I know you helped orchestrate this from wherever you are and I am eternally grateful. Love, Daphne p.s. remember that train ride from New York that cold January day? Remember what I said? Still true.

Efrom Huntley said...

It is the end of the spring semester 2010, and I have time to think again. For some reason my wanderings through the internet have led me to this blog again and to a wonderful account by another former student of Dr. Motzkin: www.uwec.edu/cas/libed/documents/Entire%20transcript.doc

Elvine said...

It has been more than five years since we lost Prof. Motzkin. I saw him in my dream last night and realized once again how much I miss him. He was an excellent teacher of text and of life. He was a mentor and a good friend. Many thanks to those who prepared this page so that we may read about Dr. Motzkin and remember him in our hearts and minds. Wherever he is, I pray that he knows how much he was loved and that he is missed. Best regards to his daughters and grandchildren, e.

Anonymous said...

BORN September 25, 1934
DIED February 4, 2006 at 71 years old.

Anonymous said...

A digest of accomplishments:

http://www.leagle.com/decision/19961921938FSupp983_11765/MOTZKIN%20v.%20TRUSTEES%20OF%20BOSTON%20UNIVERSITY