Date published: May 10, 2012
Journal code: JWEX
Stuart Wurtman, an attorney who served as co-chairman of the Philadelphia Soviet Jewry Council in the mid-1970s, died in Jerusalem on April 16 at the age of 70.
A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Wurtman and his wife, Enid, traveled to the Soviet Union in 1973 and 1974 to visit beleaguered Jews desperate to immigrate to Israel. Upon returning to Philadelphia, he became co-chairman of the newly founded Soviet Jewry Council of the Jewish Community Relations Council, an organization that evolved over the years into a role model for Soviet Jewry activism.
In a short time, the Philadelphia lawyer had national responsibilities, becoming the president of the Union of Councils for Soviet Jewry, which he served from 1975 to 1977.
In 1977, the Wurtmans moved to Jerusalem.
Former Soviet refusenik and emigre, currently chairman of the executive of the Jewish Agency for Israel, Natan Sharansky, once referred to Stuart Wurtman as "being a passionate soldier in the campaign for Soviet Jewry."
In addition to his wife, Wurtman is survived by daughter Hillie Moyal; sons Ellie Wurtman and Carmi Wurtman; a brother, Richard Wurtman; and six grandchildren.