Jan 9, 2011

City Planner Efraim Gil

My old friend and partner Professor Efraim Gil was a very wise man. He survived the old Soviet Union and the Nazis' in World War II, and fought in two of Israel's wars. 

Efraim had amazing stories about surviving World War II as a child, and escaping the old Soviet Union to freedom. He was trained as a City Planner, and served for a time as the County Engineer in Jerusalem County. He became a Professor of Environmental Planning at Governors State University in Illinois, and earned his PhD in Public Policy Analysis at the University of Illinois. Efraim and I worked on numerous plans and studies, including Comprehensive Plans and Zoning Ordinances for Kankakee County, the City of Kankakee, and Eastern Will County.

Efraim loved the freedom and promise of America.  He noted that one of the best things about the United States was religious freedom, and the fact that no single faction or group dominated the political landscape.

He was a voice for tolerance and moderation. One of his quotes that I remember well was:

"at the end of the day, we Americans will elect a pretty good Democrat or Republican. We are not talking about the difference between a Communist and a Nazi."

So a new years resolution for all of us of should be avoid language that could be taken by a nut case as a call to action, even if the reference is humorous. I am sure that Efraim would support that effort.


Gil, Efraim Zvi, - Obituary - September 18, 1934 - April 13, 2007 

Born in Chernovitz, Ukraine, was a Holocaust survivor. Dr. Gil received his B.A. in Political Science from San Jose State University, his Masters in Community Planning from the University of Cincinnati and his Doctorate in Public Administration from the University of Illinois. He was a Professor at Governors State University in Illinois for 30 years. 

Dr. Gil was a life-long proponent of "communities of loving care" believing that people of all faiths could learn to live together in a way that supported each other and protected planet Earth. He retired to Boca Raton, FL in 2004 and was a member of the Carlebach Minyan at the Boca Raton Synagogue. 

Dr. Gil is survived by his wife, Enid; his children, Naomi Abramovitz (Samuel) and Daniel Shimon Gil (Shoshannah Fineberg); his sister, Soshannah Kahane and brother, Rafi Schauer; his grandchildren, Claire, Cohavit, Max, Tsipora, Nehama and Ruth, as well as a host of friends throughout the world who loved him and his vision. He will be greatly missed.