Harold Gorvine, my history teacher, from the time I  was 14, has died.

Harold’s way of teaching  was unique. He told us not to take notes. Rather, to listen and to follow the lives of those  who made history.

Harold taught us to think about what must be going on in their minds.

Remember like yesterday the role play we went through to simulate what was going on  in the mind of Harry Truman before he gave the order to drop the bomb

How appropriate that Harold will be buried on at 11 am on November 11, the very moment and very hour that the cannons of WWI ceased fire.

Have consciously dedicated my professional life to the art of inquiry as taught by Harold Gorvine.

Most recently, requested Harold’s permission to dedicate to him my forthcoming book, “Encounters of an Investigative Journalist in Jerusalem.”

Harold wrote back that the request brought him to tears, and gave his permission.

In March 1968, less than a year after the Six Day War, Harold brought Rabbi Eugene Weiner to addressed our senior high school class at Akiba about the moral implications of that war: Arab refugees from the 1948 war now live under Israeli control. It was from this lesson in  Dr. Gorvine’s class that we understood that, “refugees from the 1948 war are now Israel’s responsibility.”

That one sentence inspired a career.Since opening a news investigation office in 1987, UNRWA policies have become the prime focus of my work.

For this I thank Harold, who lit the spark that kindled a life-long career of investigating UNRWA.

Harold’s inspiration began to take shape shortly after my time at Akiba.

In 1971, I was working at my first job at Jerusalem Hillel. There, I was disturbed to learn that there was no place where all Jews could learn in an open atmosphere of mutual respect, like the one we had at Akiba. The available options then were: HUC (Reform) , Neve Schechter (Conservative), Hebrew University (academic) and various Yeshivot (Orthodox).

So my first project was: “How to Start a radical Yeshiva”.

I came back to Philly and broached the idea of a radical yeshiva with both Harold and Ronni Brauner, two beloved Akiba teachers who have now passed away, as well as  with our Akiba Principal, Dr. Reisman. I spelled out the vision, and they each gave encouragement.

Returning to Israel, I sought advice from Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan, who used to spend time in the Hillel library, from Rabbi David Hartman, and from Prof. Nechama Leibowitz.

That project to form a radical yeshiva, with Harold’s open approach to inquiry, became the Pardes Institute. Pardes just celebrated its 50th anniversary, a living memorial to the method of inquiry that Harold Gorvine shared with generations of Akiba students.

I did not found Pardes. However, thanks to the inspiration of Harold Gorvine, Pardes  was facilitated

Harold Gorvine  will be dearly missed – by me, and so many, many others. May his memory be for a blessing.


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David Bedein
David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.