J. Gutman, Rights Advocate, 80

By Miriam Colton

Published March 19, 2004, issue of March 19, 2004.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Jeremiah S. Gutman, one of the nation’s leading civil rights attorneys and a vocal advocate for Israeli civil liberties, died February 25 after suffering a heart attack at a Metro-North Railroad station. He was 80.

The night before his death, Gutman presided at a meeting of Meretz USA, a Jewish organization promoting peace and civil rights in Israel, of which he had been president since 2001. Gutman’s devotion to Israeli causes extends back to the Jewish state’s early history. After serving in combat in Europe during World War II, Gutman attended the New York University School of Law, while also gathering light arms for Israel during its War of Independence, according to a Meretz official.

“Significant issues changed civil rights in Israel, such as the rights of Arab Israelis, and he was at the forefront,” said Charney V. Bromberg, executive director of Meretz, who was one of Gutman’s clients as a conscientious objector during the Vietnam era. “He’s risked his life over years for causes of justice and he was a man of enormous courage.”

In 1951, partly as a response to the tactics Senator Joseph McCarthy used to fight Communism in America, Gutman helped found the New York Civil Liberties Union, and was a member of the board of the American Civil Liberties Union at the time of his death. As a partner at the law firm Levy, Gutman, Goldberg & Kaplan, he often litigated civil rights cases. His clients over the years included the anti-establishment activists Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin, and cult figures such as the Rev. Sun Myung Moon and leaders of the Hare Krishnas.

Gutman recently made headlines when he testified in the Martha Stewart case, having briefly represented Merrill Lynch & Co. assistant Douglas Faneuil.

Gutman is survived by his wife, Marilyn Gates-Gutman, and twin six-year-old sons, Ariel and Emanuel; four grown children, Thea Gutman, Malaika Gates-Gutman, Rebecca Menon and Mara Ferris; a brother, Robert W. Gutman, and two grandchildren.






Find us on Facebook!
  • British Jews are having their 'Open Hillel' moment. Do you think Israel advocacy on campus runs the risk of excluding some Jewish students?
  • "What I didn’t realize before my trip was that I would leave Uganda with a powerful mandate on my shoulders — almost as if I had personally left Egypt."
  • Is it better to have a young, fresh rabbi, or a rabbi who stays with the same congregation for a long time? What do you think?
  • Why does the leader of Israel's social protest movement now work in a beauty parlor instead of the Knesset?
  • What's it like to be Chagall's granddaughter?
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.