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Roger L. Simon

Barry Rubin: Conscience of the White City

February 3rd, 2014 - 9:10 am

I first knew Barry Rubin by his work. He wrote more cogently of the Middle East than almost anyone alive, maybe than anyone alive in the English language.

Some years ago, taking a flyer, I found his email and invited him to write for what was then a media company known as Pajamas, not PJ Media.  How lucky we were that he said yes and accepted a position as one of our columnists and our Middle East editor.  For the intervening years, this site became one of the most important places, one of the “go-to” stops, for the crisis in that part of the world that itself never stops.

And now he’s gone.  It’s hard to believe the voice is stilled. It’s hard to believe that indefatigable human being who — from evidence of the times I would message him — never slept.  And there was not one thing that happened between Los Angeles and Tel Aviv, or even Tashkent, that escaped his eye.  Ask Barry a question about anything and he would have an answer — always better than yours.

He also became my friend — so I am having trouble accepting this.

I last saw Barry only last June when he escorted my family and me around Tel Aviv.  Barry and his family — wife, daughter and son — lived in a beautiful home in the White City — the historic Art Deco neighborhood of  Tel Aviv — and he showed us around with the greatest care and pride.  When he knew we were coming to Israel — I for the first time in twenty years, my wife and daughter for their very first times — he took it on himself to make sure we saw everything, everything that we possibly could or should, arranging meetings with fantastic people and taking us to amazing places.

At that point Barry had just been through an immense battle with cancer that he had documented online.  We were thrilled to find him in a good condition, the same crusading man of conscience he constantly exhibited in his work.  Gaunt though he appeared, it seemed he had won the fight with that mightiest of adversaries, at least for the moment.

But no one wins it forever. And Barry’s time was shorter than most of us.

The phrase Tikkun olam– to repair the world — is often used in the Jewish tradition, sometimes by people Barry did not think the best of, and for good reason. But Barry himself embodied that tradition more than anyone I can think of.  He indeed was a “repairer of the world,” the conscience of the White City.  To say that he will be missed is a cliché not worthy of him.

The deepest condolences from my family to his.

****

Also see these reflections from Patrick Poole at the PJ Tatler and Dave Swindle at PJ Lifestyle

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Top Rated Comments   
The Midrash (Kohelet Rabbah on 3:5),

" The wife of Rabbi Mana died. His colleague, Rabbi Abin, came to pay a condolence call. Asked Rabbi Mana, "Are there any words of Torah you would like to offer us in our time of grief?" Rabbi Abin replied, "At times like this the Torah takes refuge in silence! "

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Such a tragic loss. So glad I had the opportunity to be better educated about the issues concerning the ME thanks to his hard work.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Slowly but surely, God is taking the good ones for His own. Gave me a pit in my stomach to read of Mr. Rubin's passing. I thoroughly enjoyed his articles.

Condolences to Mr. Rubin's family and friends, Mr. Simon.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (39)
All Comments   (39)
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I will miss his articles and insight. Rest in peace, Mr. Rubin. Condolences to his family and community.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Sorry to hear this news, he will be missed. Condolences to his family and friends.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Mr. Rubin's insights and clarity of mind will be sorely missed. I hope PJMedia will provide a permanent link to his past columns so we can revisit them and continue to be challenged and educated. RIP.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
So sad to hear about Barry Rubin's death. He was a wise and insightful man re: the Middle East. My condolences to his family and to the staff at PJ MEDIA.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The Midrash (Kohelet Rabbah on 3:5),

" The wife of Rabbi Mana died. His colleague, Rabbi Abin, came to pay a condolence call. Asked Rabbi Mana, "Are there any words of Torah you would like to offer us in our time of grief?" Rabbi Abin replied, "At times like this the Torah takes refuge in silence! "

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Having discovered Mr. Rubin on PJMEDIA, I'm truly thankful that I got a chance to read his work. I will continue to look for his books and read them. He will be missed. G-d Bless
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Prayers for his family. Thank you PJ Media for bringing Mr Rubins wisdom to a wider audience. His example lives on, and you honor him with your work, too, Mr Simon.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Condolences to his friends and family. Condolences to us all. We will miss Mr. Rubin. May his memory be for a blessing.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
We've suffered a great loss of mind and spirit.

Barry Rubin alav ha-shalom.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
My heartfelt deepest condolences to Mr. Rubin's family. I just buried my wife of 37 years for the same reason. Let's not say that G-d wanted to take them home early. That is something I can never believe or accept given the degree of suffering involved.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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