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Bernheim-Apter-Kreitzman Suburban Funeral Chapel

68 Old Short Hills Road, Livingston, NJ

OBITUARY

David H. Bensman

August 1, 1949July 25, 2020

The funeral service for David H. Bensman is by invitation and will take place on Tuesday, July 28 at 3:00 pm. To view a live webcast, please click on the link below.

Services

No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.

Memories

David H. Bensman

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margo pellegrino (howard)

August 6, 2020

Prof. Bensman never knew that I was taking his class, and I do forget which one it was, back in the late 80's, because a company I was working for was paying me to follow a labor studies program. This company, a small delivery service specializing in bank runs & press releases (so quaint, right??), was concerned a union might come in.......so I suppose I was to be the one to learn as much about organizing, etc, to prevent that. The funny thing is, that during the duration of the class, which I am pretty sure focused on the globalization of the work force and touched a bit also on the challenges...(namely, "off-shore banking," go figure!!!), I became convinced that a union would be the BEST thing for the workers AND the company. Dr. Bensman also saw in me something that I did not see in myself, and I appreciated that, and STILL appreciate that. I guess it is up to us all to pick up that heavy torch to make the world a better place.

Ruth Jordan

August 2, 2020

I was a comrade of David's in the DSA and DSOC and remember him as a staunch defender of unions and workers rights I am saddened by his death. My condolences to his family, friends and students

Edie Raskin

August 1, 2020

We were deeply saddened and stunned to learn about David's death last weekend. We were so looking forward to seeing him, Josephine, and Joseph on the Cape in just a couple of weeks. Our annual get-togethers in Wellfleet have been happening for the better part of the past 29 years. It began in 1991 when Joseph was an adorable 3 year old toting a large boom box playing Pavarotti, I was in the last stretch of a high risk pregnancy with our son, Eric and Hurricane Bob devastated the whole Cape. Yet getting reacquainted with David, meeting his family and having Marilyn there, made it a lovely time. Our reunions continued and somehow, even with the passage of time, it felt as though we took up where we left off, catching up on our families, the events in the past year, travel and invariably politics. And of course David us made a lovely meal! It has been hard to write this because there is much to say about David. First and foremost, he was such a mensch. He was kind and caring, gentle and generous. He listened to people intently, no matter what age. Asked a question, there was often a pause. In time, you realized how deeply he was thinking about both the question and his response. David loved Josephine and Joseph above all, but he also loved his large extended family. You could tell by the detail in which he spoke about his nephews, nieces, grandchildren that he made great efforts to know them. David also cared deeply about his many friends, students, colleagues, the workers of the world, really mankind in general. He worked hard to make this world a better place as both a professor, mentor and labor activist. The demise of our Democracy in the last few years weighed heavily on David. His life's work did not allow him to step away. David's life ended too soon, but what a meaningful life he lived, filled with love, purpose and pleasure. We felt fortunate to have him in our life. We will miss him dearly.
Edie Raskin & Peter Chubinsky

Carol Achieng'

July 31, 2020

I am sorry to learn about Prof. Bensman's departure. What a mentor he was!I encountered Professor Bensman in my last year at Rutgers University when I had to take a Senior Seminar course that he taught. David taught me how to think beyond the ordinary. He was soft spoken and very caring. He made sure we knew our purpose as we prepared to join Labor. I must thank him for pushing me to join graduate school, as a foreign student with slight challenges, he saw a future in me. The Great Prof made sure I met all requirements and wrote letters of recommendation to every school I had applied to upon my request. We kept intouch during my two years of graduate school '2011. I later on left the US and regrettably never thanked him enough for the role he played in my academics and life. My condolences to his family and SMLR family @Rutgers. May his gentle soul rest in eternal Peace.

Alex Spinrad

July 31, 2020

My thoughts are with all of David's family, and with David himself. My memories are from what seems like another world: the activism of the late 60's and the 70's; the small, warm but almost closed world of democratic socialist activism, debate and community, togetherness and visions of social justice that today seems like a dream.
Then, David was a leader. He had the unique combination of personal charisma and depth of thought that make for intellectual leaders - not just a political leaders but a leader of ideas.
From Israel I was unable to remain in touch for almost 40 years ;but I followed his career and academic work from afar, a silent player in the not-so-virtual game of American labor activism, labor history and social politics. I know about it all : his books, his teaching, and his political activism, even towards 2020. I know there are many here in Israel who could benefit from his insight, and thank God for his books.
For those who had the good fortune to be with him in the last 30 years, his passing must leave a hole which cannot be filled. And even for me, who more than 30 years hasn't talked with him, his passing leaves a black hole in my past - or better said, in the future of my past. So it must be.
Jewish tradition says that we are all responsible for fellow Jews :for their crimes and failures, as well as their good deeds. And therefore when a fellow Jew passes, part of us dies with him. So with David.
May his family be comforted with all the mourners,and may they no more sorrow.

Kim Cook

July 30, 2020

David was my adviser, mentor and rock when I entered Rutgers in 1985. We kept in touch regularly because I didn't finish my Masters and kept bugging him on a regular basis to help me figure out how to get it done. He did that more than I deserved - and was also a cheerleader not just for my academics - but he was a great supporter of my work with SEIU for the next 30 years.

When I finally came back in 2016 to finish my degree, it was David I turned to first for his wise counsel and encouragement. Probably more than anyone - I have David Bensman to thank for my current role at the Cornell Worker Institute. Thank you David - you will me missed. Kim Cook

Marcia Mitolo

July 29, 2020

My deepest condolences to David’s family. I cannot express how important he was to me during my years at Rutgers. He was a mentor, a cheerleader, and an amazing professor. Please know that he made a difference in many student’s lives.

Pia Capone

July 29, 2020

I would like to extend my deepest condolences to the family and friends of David Bensman.
Professor Bensman was an excellent teacher, mentor, and advisor. He listened attentively to his students and their concerns and views. He had an outstanding ability to make connections with each of us. Thank you for being an inspirational professor to all of your past students.
Sincerely,
Pia Capone

Christina Towne

July 29, 2020

Dear Bensman Family,
I am so very sorry for your loss of David. I was a grad student at Rutgers in the late 2000s and got to know Prof Bensman at that time. He was so brilliant and passionate about improving the lives the working class through his research. I feel honored I got to learn from him.
I hope there is some comfort in knowing how many lives he touched and how many people credit their views and understanding of the world to Prof. Bensman. He was so deeply loved, and that is truly the best thing a person can be in this life.
He will be greatly missed.
In deepest sympathy,
Christina Towne

William Brucher

July 29, 2020

I am incredibly sad about David’s passing and send my love to his family. He was one of the first people who welcomed me when I came to Rutgers, and introduced me to other members of the department and activists in the NJ labor community. Over the years we had many great conversations about labor history, politics, and life in general. He shared interesting anecdotes from his life, including his family’s generations-long involvement in left-wing and progressive movements, his appearance as an extra in The Killing Floor (a movie about Black meatpackers in 1910s Chicago), and other stories. He remained a committed scholar and activist through his recent work with port truckers, and truly believed in the ability of workers to make the world a better place. I miss him.

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