Las Vegas Sun

August 30, 2014

Hank Had Role in Founding Israel

Hank Greenspun was a founding member of Temple Beth Sholom, the first Jewish synagogue in Las Vegas, but Jews everywhere mourned his death. He was a hero of the Jewish people and played a direct role in the founding of Israel in 1947.

"Hanks commitment to Jewish survival was special. There's been nothing like it before him or since," said his friend Herb Brin, editor of Heritage Publications, a chain of Jewish newspapers serving California, Nevada and the Western states.

"Hank was there for Israel when it counted. He was there to help when that tiny remnant of Jewish survivors of the Holocaust was gathering to go to Israel to establish the nation," Brin said.

"Hank was determined to return life to the Jewish people after they were almost wiped out by Hitler. He did many heroic things and for a time lost his American civil liberties because of it, but he always said the cause was more than worth it.

Greenspun and Brin covered the trial of Adolph Eichmann in Israel in 1961 when Eichmann was charged with crimes against humanity. Greenspun was there for the SUN, Brin for Heritage Publications.

"I'm really crushed by his death," Brin said. "His loss is to his family and to his community, but it's also a very great loss to the Jewish nation."

Entertainer Joey Bishop was a friend of Hank Greenspun for four decades.

"He was one of the dearest friends I ever had," Bishop said. "You could count on him with your life. I never really knew what the expression 'One in a million' meant until I met Hank Greenspun."

Author-writer Jim Phalen worked with Greenspun on special assignments, primarily on Howard Hughes stories in the 1970s.

"I'm sure going to miss him. He was a very unusual guy," Phalen said. "He had hunches and would work on them. He could feel things in his bones and his hunches usually turned out to be right. It was like a sixth sense that he had."

Phalen also had high praise for Greenspun on another level.

"He was warm, kind, gentle, sensitive, very alive and very passionate. You couldn't help but love him, and I did," he said.

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