News

David Ehrlich - In Memoriam
Author: Michael Weingrad
Posted: March 24, 2020

It is with great sorrow that we announce the passing of David Ehrlich (1959-2020), father, writer, founder of Jerusalem's legendary literary cafe Tmol Shilshom, and the 2009 Schusterman Israeli Artist-in-Residence at Portland State University's Judaic Studies department.

David Ehrlich

David was the author of three collections of short stories in Hebrew, as well as the collection in English translation Who Will Die Last: Stories of Life in Israel (Syracuse University Press, 2013).

David's residency at PSU was widely appreciated by students and community members. A number of PSU students decided to visit Israel for the first time after taking a course on Israeli literature with David. Portland's Jewish Theatre Collaborative created and performed a dramatic reading of his stories, and David spoke to audiences in Portland, Seattle, and Eugene about literature, gay identity in Israel, and the challenges of keeping a cafe open during the Intifada. He valued spending time in Oregon with the late Alter Wiener, a Holocaust survivor who was a childhood friend of David's father, also a Holocaust survivor from Poland. David spoke frequently of how much he loved his time in Portland, and frequently sported his PSU baseball cap on the streets of Jerusalem.

Tmol Shilshom, a Jerusalem cultural institution, first opened in 1994 and is a favorite destination for its countless visitors over the years, a warm and welcoming haven for a diverse cross-section of Jerusalem's population. Tmol has long been known as an LGBTQ-friendly place (David served on the board of Jerusalem's LGBTQ community center) as well as a popular choice for young religious Jews on a first date. The cafe's rich schedule of readings by Israel's foremost writers was launched with a poetry reading by David's friend Yehuda Amichai, and continues today with poetry slams, book launches, and musical performances. All this reflected David's warmth of personality, love of books, and openness to people.

David was a beloved friend to many in Israel, the United States, and throughout the world, a true portion of the beauty Jerusalem is said to have been granted from on high. He is survived by his parents, his sister, his two 12 year old children, and his friend Tamar Baum with whom he co-parented their twins. May his memory be a blessing.