DAVID GEORG GIL
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GIL, David Georg Of Lexington. It is with great sadness and admiration of an inspirational and principled life that we announce the death of our dear father on March 6, 2021, at 96. For 58 of those years, he lived in Lexington with his beloved wife of 66 years, Eva (Breslauer), who died in 2013. Born in Vienna, Austria, on March 16, 1924, David was a Holocaust survivor who escaped Nazi-occupied Vienna through the Kindertransport and resettled in Israel in 1940, before immigrating to the United States in 1957. With the assistance of a United Nations Scholarship, he earned a master's and doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Work. From 1964-2010, he taught at Brandeis University's Heller School for Social Policy and Management, where he was professor of social policy and director of the Center for Social Change. His traumatic childhood separation from his family was the impetus for his scholarly research and writing on the systemic causes of violence, and on overcoming social and economic injustice. The author of five books, his numerous awards include the 2000-2001 Social Worker of the Year from the Massachusetts Chapter of NASW, the 2006 Presidential Award from the Council on Social Work Education, and the 2008 Noam Chomsky Award from the Justice Studies Association. He is survived by his two sons, Daniel and Gideon; their wives, Deborah Sassoon and Lisa Huber; and two grandchildren, Michael Gil and Liana Huber. A Memorial Service will be held at a later date. The family requests that gifts in memory of David be made to the Heller Fellowship Fund - Diversity and Inclusion Scholarships at heller.brandeis.edu/give or to a social justice cause of your choosing.

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Published in Boston Globe from Mar. 11 to Mar. 12, 2021.
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14 entries
April 30, 2021
I feel honored to have known him. We met while I was an MSW student at Washington University in St. Louis in 1980 and his weeklong seminar was a joy to be part of. When I moved back to NYC in '81, I visited him several times at both Brandeis and at his home & he was always gracious, warm and full of ideas. Although I lost touch for these many years, I was greatly saddened to learn of his recent passing. The world will miss him; more specifically, I will.
Steve Rabinowitz
Student
April 25, 2021
I an so sorry to hear of the great professor's passing. Each year when he returned to Washington University to teach his one week intensive class in the eighties i attended. His ideas made perfect sense to me and i watched spellbound as he gently ripped apart our assumptions and stitched something better back together. What brilliance and what a stupendous teacher. My heartfelt condolences.
Joan Shapiro
Student
March 24, 2021
My sincerest condolences to David’s loved ones. This kind, warm person was an excellent teacher, mentor, chair of my dissertation, then later colleague and friend. He has had, over the years, tremendous influence on my work on human rights, social justice, and social policy, as a professor. He was an intellectual, if not spiritual “giant” in my view, whose work I passed on my students, whom I know will also pass on to their students and so on. He will be sorely missed, but his work will live on, I am sure. May he rest in peace
Joseph Wronka
Friend
March 18, 2021
To date, I carry the light of social justice and inclusion, that Professor Gil ignited in me over numerous classroom discussions. It is such a privilege to have been his student, and continue his vision and legacy in different parts of the globe. May you rest in peace Professor!
Nirmi Vitarana
Teacher
March 17, 2021
My deepest condolences to Dr. Gil's family. He was a beloved figure and a true hero for so many of us who learned from him at the Heller School for Social Policy. It was an honor to have known him. May he rest in peace.
Milanga Abeysuriya
Student
March 16, 2021
David was an inspiration to me when I became a Ph.D. student at Heller in 1970. Most memorable was a non-credit seminar he organized on the then new book on justice by Rawls. Faculty members and students alike, sat around the room, each week discussing an analyzing one of the chapters.
In 1984 I was honored to be invited to be a speaker at ta conference he organized at Heller entitled "Toward Social and Economic Justice," the proceedings of which were published in a book of the same title.
David was a vivid, continuing presence as a constant ethical voice, as I have carried his ideas of social and economic justice with me in my professional life. As someone said he was the conscience of Heller, and the voice we , within us. David may be gone, but his passion, his thoughts, his commitment will remain with all who he touched over so many years
Ruth Brandwein, Ph.D 1978
Professor and Dean Emeritus
Stony Brook University
Ruth A. Brandwein
Student
March 16, 2021
There are no words to express my sadness. David Gil was the face of the Heller School, as it was originally conceived to advance social justice and social welfare. I also had the great honor of knowing his equally lovely wife, Eva. My warmest thoughts and feelings to David's family. The loss of your father is keenly felt by so many.
Barry Adams
Student
March 16, 2021
David Gil had a giant and profound impact on my time at Heller and on my perspectives around social justice work. I am deeply honored that I was able to learn from him.
Sarah Winawer-Wetzel
Student
March 16, 2021
Professor Gil was a bright beacon of the possible. He was hood in his Rt hi king and feeling that the world could be better than it was and he challenged students to think for themselves - a rare gift. I was honored to learn social policy from the master. He made a big impact on me and on so many. May his memory be for a couple to UWS blessing to all those he touched.
Tao Moran
Student
March 16, 2021
He was a kind and warm person. His teaching style was one-of-a-kind and always came from a place of love. And as humble as he was, I'm sure he never even considered how many lives he touched.
James Miller
Student
March 12, 2021
Dr. David Gil was my doctoral dissertation chair, but he was so much more than that. I do not think I have met in my life a kinder and more compassionate human being, one who truly lived the values he espoused. David was brilliant, but unlike many brilliant people, he was also extraordinarily humble, and never made his students feel like anything other than colleagues in an intellectual journey. He remains an inspiration to me in all that I do, but most especially my teaching. My sincere condolences to his family. They, and the world, have lost a truly wonderful human being, a giant in the fields of social work and social policy.
Stephen Monroe Tomczak
Student
March 12, 2021
You have served as a great mentor, role model, and friend. I will miss you dearly.
Joan Arches
Friend
March 12, 2021
A Mensch, a mentor and a warm , loving human being. Along with the Dybwads, David was a pillar of humanity in a troubled time!
Bob Marcus
Student
March 12, 2021
Memory Eternal, David Gil, my beloved friend and mentor of four decades... Memory Eternal also for his beloved wife Eva, also my beloved friend and mentor... Sending comfort and love to their beloved sons, Gideon and Daniel, daughters-in-law Lisa and Debbie, grandchildren Michael and Liana ... and to the generations of friends and students who loved and were loved and guided by David and Eva... More to say later, but this first, most, always!!! David's memory will be a blessing among blessings!!! Thanks, Gideon for this loving tribute to your Dad!
Janet Bernard
Friend
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