Reminiscences of Jerry

We welcome memories, stories and photographs from friends, colleagues and family. Please send your reminiscences to ruberman@brandeis.edu.

Family Memorials

Memorials from friends and mathematicians

Jerome Levine,

May 4, 1937-April 8, 2006

Sandra Levine

Forever in my Heart

What can I say about my husband?
What can I tell you? For over 49 years he was there for me
He comforted me, helped me, believed in me
He was my soul mate and my friend.
We had secret `Nicknames' for each other.
Only the two of us shared.
Filled with hope and promises of growing old together. Never realizing this was not to happen
68 is not `old'--Cancer is cruel to good people
He loved his children and grandchildren with such passion that it broke his heart when one of them was hurting.
Jerry was the strong silent type--very strong. Very silent.
Not talking much, I could read his gestures--feel his emotions as if we were one
And in a way, we were
Two opposites, attracted to each other with a love that survived more physical and emotional pain than should be allowed.
He put up with my changing moods, my passion for the eccentric, my desires to explore
And he appreciated me even though at times it was rough.
Married for over 47 years, how many people can say this with the love that we had for each other?
When he became ill, I became angry. How dare "THEY" make such a strong man ill.
For nine months--a pregnancy, I was by his side and with each hope we had, we felt as if there was none.
Yet, the love was here, the caring.
The last thing before he went for the final trip to the hospital on ambulance, that dreaded Tuesday night, was to tell me how much he loved me. How sorry he was to be such a pain.
My answer was-"Love never is a pain, it's the Cancer that is a pain, never you"
It is filling that he be buried so close to the place he loved so much. Brandeis University was good to him and he was good to Brandeis.
His soul belongs elsewhere, his body here.
Beloved husband, we will meet again. For now, you are at the rainbow Bridge with your beloved kitty Pepper who passed a mere month before you.
Good-by my friend. I love you. Wait for me.



Laura Levine Krinsky

I am a mathematician's daughter. Many of my early memories involved traveling to various places and meeting families of dad's colleagues. I remember when we were in Paris for a conference, someone asked me who I was related to and when I told them they replied "You're Jerry Levine's daughter?" I always had a pride in who my dad was in the math world, even though I understood very little about it. I remember spending time at Brian Sanderson's home in England as an adult and discussing the idiosyncrasy of being a mathematician's child. We discussed how hard it was in some aspects, never feeling that you are good enough academically, but also how you become a part of an alternative culture and the profound impact this has on you as an adult.

I also struggled with this issue as I chose to go to Brandeis as an undergraduate. I felt that I had a secret identity, I remember when one of my friends found out that it was my dad, chairman that year, who had denied him the ability to transfer credits from another school. I also remember when I chose to be a sociology major and when I told my dad I switched majors he exclaimed "my daughter the sociology major". I love Brandeis; it represents to me both the finding of myself as an adult, and my dad as a professional. Throughout the years being a mathematician's daughter has always been a large part of my identity. I spent time in Israel at the homes of both Gabriel Katz, and Michael Farber. I had surrogate fathers wherever I traveled.

I am always proud of my dad, explaining to people, "my dad discovered how to tie knots in the fourth dimension" (ok, for the mathematician I might be wrong…) My dad was a very complicated man. I know I felt very close to him, and that I could talk to him about almost everything. I loved spending time with him. In the past weeks, while discussing my dad with my siblings, I realized he was much more complex then I knew. We all had very different but very deep relationships with him.

Mike remembers learning history with him, Jeff discussing books, and most of my memories are long conversations on the phone about life issues, or meeting people around the world who respected my father's work.

My dad will be deeply missed by my family. I remember when he first held Menucha, and he looked at her and said "she's beautiful". We all were and are connected to him. In the last few minutes before his death I was singing to him "Osah shalom bemorove, hu yas say ahalom alnun, v a col isreal, vermo, vermo amen" He who makes peace in his heights , may he make peace upon us, and upon all Israel amen. May we not forget his spirit.



Shira Krinsky

My Grandfather
My grandfather, otherwise known as Pata, was a very amazing man. He was very smart, and enjoyable to be with. He was nice, kind, and had a good sense of humor. He had a serious side, too, which I like. It meant that once things get to out of control, it's not funny anymore. I love him very much, and I am sure my siblings do to.

Notice how I said love in present, not past. That is because, although he is not alive physically, he is alive in me, and I hope he is still alive in everyone present today. He is there, in my soul, living inside me, and I will remember him. I hope none here should ever forget him, and keep him alive in you, in your soul.

My grandfather was someone very special, like everyone is. No one is exactly the same as someone else, even if it just means one freckle. Some thing unique about my grandfather is: He was smart, like I already mentioned, and he was a math teacher. This is special because as a child, he once told me, he didn't like addition, subtraction, multiplication, etc.

Since my grandfather is so special, I wrote a poem for him, which is dedicated to him, especially, and to his whole family for helping him through the hard times.

People
Very special
Unique
Nice
Different
And Strange

They start from life
Then live it
Next die

Death
A strange concept
Mysterious
Dark
And odd

Life
Beautiful
Hard
Sad
Happy
Kind
Weird
And puzzling

That's not all
To life
There's something else
Under the devil's hat-
Sickness

Sickness
Tough
Baffling
Peculiar
The shadow of death

Use your life well
Keep it under your sleeve
Be happy
Kind
And have fun…



Shalom Krinsky

Pata (my grandfather) was very kind. He was also very fun to play games with. I love him very much. It is so sad that he died. I think that everyone should remember how smart, how kind, and how nice he was.

Love, Shalom


Jeffrey Levine

I’m Jeff and I am the baby of the family – or, as Dad would call me, the “Number Two Son.” My strongest memories of Dad are the evenings when I was in high school. During that time, Mom was working in the evenings and it was up to Dad and I to make dinner. We would usually stir fry something- this was a time when he was really into stir frying -and eat together in the kitchen. We’d talk about current events. After dinner he would help me with homework and try to make sure that I understood what I was learning. He would, of course, get especially excited about my math homework.

Dad really taught me a lot. He taught me his values – in particular moderation, and love of learning.

MODERATION

I remember once when I was about 12 and I swore in front of him. Dad told me to stop, which is typical Dad behavior, but I remember being surprised about the reason. “If you swear all the time, it won’t really mean much when you really need to swear.” Dad felt that moderation was important in eating good food, drinking, or any other vice.  The exceptions were coffee and peanut butter, which remain to this day two of my worst vices as well. Dad was a coffee-maker junkie, and for years after college when I needed a new coffee maker it was a safe bet that I could ask him for one of his old ones and not have to buy one. Peanut butter always had to be the natural kind, long before there were any health reasons, but just for taste.

 LOVE OF LEARNING

As a professor this one is fairly predictable, but I still appreciate the ability he gave me to learn things for myself and learn outside the classroom. Even while he was in the hospital we would read the same books and magazines and talk about them.

Later in life I remember Dad for his love of his grandchildren and his ability to think on their levels. I also thank him for his ability to help me think through life decisions, not but giving advice but by listening and asking questions. While each child has some things in common with him, I think I am the one who shares his political views and his overall world view. He was a good person.