For 35 years, Ben Levy practiced law in Philadelphia, winning the respect and affection of many friends, clients and colleagues. Ben was a joiner and was active in numerous professional and fraternal organizations. Not one to sit on the sidelines, he made it his business to become fully engaged in any organization which was fortunate enough to benefit from his involvement.
Ben was born and raised in the Feltonville section of Philadelphia. He graduated from Olney High School in 1958, from Temple University in 1962, and from Temple University School of Law in 1966. Ben practiced with local Philadelphia law firms and also served as an assistant city solicitor. He became a solo practitioner in 1985 and continued in that capacity until his death in January 2001.
Ben was very active with the law alumni association of Temple Law School and served as President of that organization. An endowment established by Ben’s family provides a scholarship to a deserving student each year.
Ben was an active member of the Philadelphia Bar Association, serving as Chairman of the compulsory arbitration committee and a member of the free disputes, nominating and small firm committees. He was a member of the Board of Governors of the Bar Association from 1995 through 1997.
Folk music was one of Ben’s lifelong passions and he was a familiar figure at the annual Philadelphia Folk Festival, which attracts music lovers from throughout the nation and the world. Ben joined the Philadelphia Folksong Society in the early 1970s and served as Chairman of the Society’s main gate committee until his death. He was a member of the Society’s Board of Governors and served as President for three successive years. Ben was also a Past President of 21 Jewel Square Club and a member of Equity Lodge of the Masonic Lodges of Pennsylvania. In those organizations as well, he was always known to be a very active and supportive member.
Judge Sandra Mazer Moss of the Philadelphia Common Pleas Court remembers Ben’s “delightful sense of humor. Even in the most heated legal battles, he would come up with a quip that would dissolve the heat of the moment with laughter,” she recalls. And Judge Moss adds that Ben “loved his wife and family. They were the most important people in his life. When his daughter Cara was accepted at Temple’s Law School, he appeared at the Bar of my court so I could read the letter of admission personally and share in his joy.”
The forerunner of our Brandeis Law Society, Tau Epsilon Rho, benefited greatly from Ben’s tireless commitment and the many hours that he dedicated to our community and our various causes. Ben was a member of the Executive Committee as well as past Chancellor, and is remembered as a loyal and caring member. Sayde Ladov recalls Ben’s “passionate commitment to developing the next generation of leaders in the Philadelphia Bar Association and his passion to create and nurture a Jewish law society.” According to Sayde, Ben “understood that for organizations such as ours, the future depended on new leaders and new members.” Sayde also remembers that “Ben spoke his mind in clear, concise terms and never backed away from a challenge or a controversial point of view.” He epitomized the ideal of a broader social responsibility and generous service to others. Ben believed he could make a difference in the lives of others and brought that belief to life through his actions. It is therefore wonderfully appropriate that the Louis D. Brandeis Law Society honor the memory of a member who believed so much in the value of community service by establishing the Benjamin F. Levy Community Service Award.
Ben is survived by his wife, Susan, daughter, Cara Levy Braslow, Esquire and her husband, Derek Braslow, Esquire (both Brandeis members), son, Howard Levy, Esquire and his wife, Shoshana Killian, M.D., and grandchildren, Sara Braslow (born November 18, 2002), Abigail Braslow (born September 2, 2004), and Benjamin George Levy (born December 28, 2005). The most recent addition has been named after Ben and his late father-in-law, the Honorable George Ivins.