In remembrance of our wonderful Vice Chair, Sam Lewis

Samuel Alexander Lewis, IBCA’s Vice-Chairman, passed away on December 21st 2022.He became involved with the Association, under the chairmanship of the late John Furman, some 30 plus years ago. 

Over this period of time Sam (as he was known to all) was the prime activist in organizing the Balfour Dinner – IBCA’s flagship event.  His professional experience enabled him to ensure that the venue was suited to the occasion recognizing the importance of a well -equipped sound system.  He was an excellent Master of Ceremonies at this prestigious event for many years. 

Sam’s leadership qualities were an invaluable asset to IBCA and to each successive chairperson.  His contribution to the organization will be sadly missed by our Executive,  members of IBCA and specifically by me as the current chair of IBCA. 2023 will see the reinstatement of the Balfour Dinner following a COVID hiatus. His absence will be felt at many levels as IBCA will be denied the benefit of his warm personality and vast experience.

Aside from the important role he undertook for IBCA Sam Lewis was the Chairman of AJEX (Association of Jewish Ex-servicemen) in Israel.  Each year (excluding the period during the height of COVID) he was an active participant at the Annual British Remembrance Sunday taking place in Israel at the British War Cemeteries. It was at last year’s ceremony that he gave his final moving address to the participants.    

Sam was born and spent his early days in the East End of London. When evacuated, during World War II,   he began violin lessons which, ultimately, led to his professional life as a musician.  He later turned to the viola as his main instrument and became part of the London Symphony Orchestra.  He began a career as a conductor and became the conductor of the orchestra at London’s famous Drury Lane Theatre.

He made Aliyah in 1968 when invited to manage and conduct the Haifa Symphony Orchestra.  In 1972 he formed the Netanya Orchestra attracting numerous Olim from the Former Soviet Union. The Gulf War saw the demise of the Netanya Orchestra.  He was approached by Boosey & Hawkes, the largest classical music publishers in the world, to represent the company ensuring composers rights were observed both during and after their death. This prestigious appointment led to his being appointed to represent many other such agencies.

Sam leaves a son and daughter and their respective families. He also leaves his beloved partner of 31 years, Batsheva Israels, who supported him in all his endeavors both professionally and personally; they formed a great team.   

May his memory be as a blessing.

Brenda Katten