Jacques Fein, beloved husband, father and grandfather, died peacefully on May 11, 2017 at Gilchrist Hospice Care in Howard County, Maryland after suffering a stroke at the age of 78. Jacques is survived by his wife, Judee Iliff, his sister, Annette Fein and his children and their spouses: Rachel (Lee) Burrows, Matt (Kelly) Fein and Laura (David) Alima. Jacques was a Pipa, Grandpa, and Grand Pere to his five grandchildren who were incredibly special to him — Sam and Zach Burrows, Adrienne Fein, and Maggie and Max Alima.
Jacques was born in Paris, France, in 1938 and led a remarkable life. Jacques often spoke of having “five families” — something that truly shaped who he was. Family one: His birth parents, Szmul and Rojsa Karpik, a Jewish couple originally from Poland who immigrated to France in the hopes of staying safe during World War II. As the Nazi threat grew, the Karpiks had the courage to send their two young children, Jacques (age 3-and-a-half) and Annette (age 1-and-a-half) into hiding. Family two: The Catholic family who hid Jacques and his sister during the war for close to three years, keeping them safe, healthy and alive. During this time, Jacques’ parents were murdered at Auschwitz concentration camp. Family three: After the war, Jacques and his sister were placed in two OSE orphanages (in Brittany and outside of Paris) with many other children who survived the war. Jacques remembers this as a happy time, free from the threat of Nazi soldiers. Family four: Rose and Harry Fein, the Jewish couple who adopted Jacques and Annette in 1948 and brought them to New Jersey, raising them as “regular” American kids. Jacques arrived at Ellis Island when he was 10, not knowing any English, but quickly acclimated to his new home, family and country. Family five: Jacques had two children, Rachel and Matthew, from his first marriage, and settled in Columbia, Md., in 1970. Jacques remarried in 1986 to Judee Iliff, welcoming to his life her daughter Laura.
Jacques attended Clark University, followed by Johns Hopkins University for graduate studies in Computer Sciences. Jacques joined CSC (Computer Sciences Corporation) in the early 1970s, where he worked on many projects, including the Space Program, for more than 35 years. Jacques and Judee were very active in the Jewish community and loved living in Howard County. In 2014, Jacques retired, allowing him to spend more time with his grandchildren and volunteering for numerous organizations.
Jacques dedicated his adult life to “payback” — which was his phrase for giving back to the community — as a way to repay the kindness of all the people who saved him and his sister during and after the War. Jacques’ community activities and accomplishments were plentiful. Just to name a few: He served as a past president of the Jewish Federation of Howard County, was a founder of the World Federation of Jewish Holocaust Child Survivors, was a weekly volunteer at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, frequently spoke to groups and children at schools about his Holocaust experience and was co-president/treasurer of OSE-USA. In 2011, Jacques was honored as Howard County Volunteer of the Year.
In honor of Jacques’ remarkable commitment to helping others, in lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in his name to one of the following organizations: Friends and Alumni of OSE-USA, c/o Norbert Bikales, 3408 Pointe Gate Drive, Livingston, NJ 07039 ose-france.org, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, 100 Raoul Wallenberg Place SW, Washington, D.C. 20024-2126 ushmm.org or Jewish Federation of Howard County, 10630 Little Patuxent Parkway, Suite 400, Columbia, MD 21044 jewishhowardcounty.org.
Special thank you to Gilchrist Hospice Care of Howard County, who treated Jacques and his family with kindness, respect, and dignity throughout this difficult process.
Don Peretz, Middle East scholar, veteran, activist, dies at 94
Don Peretz, a leading scholar on the Arab-Israel conflict and Palestinian refugees at SUNY Binghamton, died on April 29 in Mitchellville. He was 94.
Peretz retired as professor emeritus from SUNY Binghamton in 1992. He started his teaching career there in 1966. He was the director of the Southwest Asia North Africa Program and the author of “Israel and the Palestinian Refugees,” an academic study of the 1948 Palestinian refugees. He authored 11 other books and more than 300 articles for various journals.
Peretz was a fellow at the United States Institute of Peace and a contributor to the Middle East Institute. He graduated from the University of Minnesota, and received his doctorate from Columbia University. He was awarded a Ford Foundation grant to study the Arab refugee problem from 1952 to 1954.
Peretz studied Japanese at the University of Minnesota and served with the Army as a Japanese interpreter for a naval medical unit in Okinawa, mostly treating civilians. “Thousands of them [Okinawans] were wounded during the American invasion,”
Peretz recounted. “Many of them had hidden in caves, and to get them out, the U.S. Army used white phosphorous bombs.” The experience, he said, “only reinforced my opposition to the war and the impact that it had on noncombatants.” He was discharged after the Japanese surrender in 1945.
In 1949, Peretz applied to work with the American Friends Service Committee (Quakers), which the United Nations selected to provide relief to the Palestinian refugees. He became head of relief work in the city of Acre and western Galilee. Peretz recounted that “some people in the Jewish community said, ‘How can a Jew be working for the Arabs like that?’ He responded, “There had to be accommodation between Jews and Arabs — especially within the borders, if there was ever to be peace.”
In the 1950s, Peretz accompanied American Socialist leader Norman Thomas on a Mideast tour to visit socialist party leaders throughout the region, with Peretz providing counsel on Jewish affairs. They met Arab leaders, including Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nassar.
Peretz was born in 1922 in Baltimore to Haim Peretz and Josephine Lasser Peretz.
He is survived by his wife of 38 years, Maya Peretz, his daughter Debbie Peretz (Marcus Brandt), and sons Jonathan Chance and Ervin Peretz (Pauline Cooper), grandson Jonah and cousins Edith and Hanan Schaham.
Donations can be sent to the New Israel Fund or American Friends Service Committee.