There are giants and legends that walk among us and when they pass on, the void is tremendous. A true giant left us today. Maurice Ostroff z”l, was a man whose contribution to Israel, the Jewish people and humanity was priceless.
Maurice was a legend in Hasbarah circles and beyond. He was the founder of the International Coalition of Hasbarah Volunteers (CoHaV) and more recently, Truth be Told, of which I am a proud member. Long before I made aliyah, I could always count on Morrie for his wise council and he was our Media Team’s (an advocacy body based in South Africa) “go to” guy when we really needed help.
Maurice or Morrie as he was fondly called, had an innate ability to make cogent and rational arguments that set an example for all of us to follow. He was a gentleman and a mensch and completely devoid of ego. His response to Israel’s detractors was never aggressive or mired in accusations but rather like the uncle you were fond of who gave you a firm rebuke that was factually correct and beautifully crafted. In my opinion, it was his well-researched and rational argument that got Justice Goldstone to recant his findings against Israel after the inquiry into Israel’s conduct during Operation Cast Lead. What a shining example he set for all of us he mentored!
Maurice lived a life filled with purpose. He was a MACHAL volunteer and remained a warrior for the State of Israel all his life. Apart from leading the charge against Israel’s detractors, he was a past chairman of the Israel South Africa Chamber of Commerce and an honorary officer of the Chamber. He was a former member of the Board of Governors of the Technion and part of the team which created the Herzliya Medical Center and Beth Protea. Morrie had a technical prowess that could put many of our generation in the shade — he was well versed in hashtag and status update.
Many will be familiar with his prolific blogs in the Times of Israel and many other publications. His salient opinion and analysis was sought after by many and he had infinite patience to comply with all of our requests.
I confess to being more than a little bit star-struck when I met him and I am so blessed to have known him and learnt from him.
I used to call Morrie, Mo. His delight at being an instrumental part of our Truth be Told group was contagious. He was our backbone — keeping us well informed and well fed! He was our “speedy Gonzales” — responding to something or having the perfect reply long before anyone else. His joy at seeing other people achieve was true testament to a man who needed no approval but was confident in his purpose. On a personal level, his support for me and my work and our countless phone calls will always be treasured. This true gentleman has wielded a profound impact on my life in mentoring me.
Morrie used to end our conversations with a suggestion for a whiskey. I used to say, Mo if you are pouring, I am drinking. L’Chaim Mo — yours is a life worth toasting and celebrating and you will always be remembered and missed.
Rolene Marks — Member Truth be Told, Chair: Telfed Media Committee