In memoriam

Alan J. Levine passed away Thursday, March 18 in Malibu, California, at the age of 83. He was preceded in death by his parents, Hyman and Ruth Levine. Alan leaves behind a sister, Judy Hurd, and a strong bond of extended family and friends.

Burial was Wednesday, March 31 at the Pleasant Hill section of Temple Israel Cemetery. Rabbi Brian Stoller officiated.

Alan was born in Omaha and although he lived in California for over 60 years, he had warm memories of his hometown. In 2020, he said:

“Going to Central High was fantastic. There were so many Jewish students and we all knew each other. There were countless ways to come together and reasons to connect.”

“Alan had a huge heart and loved life, family and friends deeply and devotedly,” his cousin, David Harris, said. “His connection to Omaha survived his many years in California. He will be sorely missed.”

Several years ago Alan began thinking about his legacy. He felt that he wanted to be part of something that would benefit as many community members as possible in the most positive way.

“I came back to Omaha and met with some of the people involved in the campus renovation,” He said. “I remember Marty Ricks was there and he asked: ‘What do you really want?’ That’s when it dawned on me: I want something that makes people happy. The theater fits the bill, it’s a living space, it’s vibrant and it allows many different community members, young and old, to stand shoulder to shoulder and connect. In a theater, whether you are a performer or an audience member or otherwise involved with a production, you build relationships with people you might not otherwise meet.”

Marty Ricks knew Alan for over 20 years and visited him often in California.

“I initially met him when I was Executive Director of the JFO Foundation,” Marty said. “Over the years, we developed a friendship, especially after I retired. Every time my wife Iris and I visited LA, we’d stop by and see Alan. Alan Potash, Steve Levinger and others spent many hours in conversation with Alan to make his theater gift a reality. The one thing Alan cared about deeply was the legacy he would leave in Omaha. Omaha remained his real home, always.”

Because of Alan’s gift, we now have a beautiful space in the Alan J. Levine Performing Arts Theater. To Alan, this theater was much more than a space, more than bricks: it’s what happens in that space, what it will be used for, that is the real gift.

“Things are not the same as when I went to Central High, the community is more spread out,” he said. “A place like the Jewish Community Center is essential for people to connect in addition to the synagogues. There are so many reasons to show up; it’s much more than a room!”

Memorials may be made to an organization of your choice.