Memories of Seymour Kivitz, TER & Brandeis
By Jay E. Kivitz, Esquire
My father, Seymour "Sy" Kivitz, was in every sense a Tau Epsilon Rho and Brandeis Law Society "lifer." For most of his 60 year professional life, he was deeply involved in both Societies, not just as a member, but as an active participant or officer. Sy very much believed in the Jewish purposes espoused by each organization, and looked forward to all business meetings and social events as a way to reinforce those purposes.

Together with my mother Sylvia ("Sus"), they developed lifelong friendships with other Jewish attorneys, their spouses and families in Philadelphia, Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee, and Miami. Their friendships had to be strong because most of their conventions, always held during the last week in December and over New Years, were usually in those cities, not the places you would expect to find otherwise intelligent and thoughtful attorneys and their families during the coldest time of the year. The one exception was the Miami convention, which everyone, especially the children, looked forward to whenever it appeared on the calendar. Only in later years did the conventions move permanently to warm weather locales.

Sy served as TER's National Executive Director for many years and was National Chancellor in 1970. In 2008, he was honored at the National Convention for his dedication and service. Sy was also a member of the Schwartzberg Scholarship Foundation, an educational scholarship established to honor the memories of Ralph and Babe Schwartzberg of Chicago, two of my parents' closest friends. Perhaps this relationship, which blossomed from a fraternal acquaintance into a lifelong friendship, best symbolized the true fraternal nature of the organization. My father shared this type of friendship - not just with the Schwartzbergs - but with so many others.

On a personal note, in January 1979, when I had been practicing for only two years, my parents insisted that I accompany them to a TER dinner meeting in Philadelphia. I met Bebe that night, who was being inducted into TER  as a law student in the Temple Law School undergraduate chapter. Who could have predicted that as a result of that TER meeting, my parents would gain a daughter-in-law and two grandchildren?


AUTHOR BIO: Jay E. Kivitz, Esquire is a member of the Brandeis Law Society Executive Committee. He may be reached at (215) 627-1322 or

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