Moshe Kagan, a passionate labor Zionist and longtime board member of the Claims Conference, has died.
Kagan died on May 6 at the age of 92.
A passionate labor Zionist, Kagan was a founder and president of Americans for Progressive Israel/Hashomer Hatzair, a predecessor of Meretz USA . Meretz USA has described him as “an elder statesman of American Zionism” and presented him with its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009. He was also a member of the Executive Committee of the Jewish Labor Committee.
He joined the Claims Conference board in 1999 representing the American Zionist Movement, remaining on the board until his death. He served on the control and audit committee.
Born in Gomel, Russia, Kagan in April 1940 left the town of his youth, Keidan, Lithuania and, via Sweden, immigrated to the U.S. After living for a year with an uncle in New York , he enlisted in the U.S. Army at age 20. After the war, he learned that his parents and two sisters had been killed in the Holocaust.
He earned a degree in electrical engineering from the City College of New York and, working at an electronics firm, designed a battery that eventually powered rockets and missiles for the U.S. military and NASA.
He served in the leadership of the Jewish Agency for Israel, the American Zionist Movement, the Jewish National Fund, the National Conference on Soviet Jewry, and the World Jewish Congress. The World Zionist Organization named him a life fellow.