Mordehai “Motti” Liwshitz, 90, of Maplewood, formerly of Berkeley Heights, died June 25, 2013. He was born and raised in Vienna.
By age 15 he could speak Hebrew and English fluently. He loved to study the Talmud with his father weekly, and spoke of being a descendant of the rabbinical commentator Rashi. He was an active member of a Zionist youth group and at 15 was sent to Palestine through the Youth Aliya organized by Henrietta Szold, never seeing his family again. He first lived in Kibbutz Ein Shemer and then Kibbutz Ramat Yochanan. Fighting with the Palmach unit of the Hagana during Israel’s War of Independence, he sustained a gunshot wound to the leg that passed between his tibia and fibula, which enabled him to keep running, seek cover, and remain alive.
After the war he studied physics at the Technion in Haifa. He and his family moved to the United States so that he could pursue his doctorate in atmospheric physics, which he obtained at the University of Maryland in 1964.
Mr. Liwshitz worked for Bellcom, helping NASA conduct experiments for the Apollo missions. In 1972 he was transferred to Bell Labs in Murray Hill.
He was an active member of Summit Jewish Community Center. With their friends from the synagogue, they formed the Read Group, which lasts to this day. Until a couple of months ago, he led services and read from the Torah at the Thursday minyan.
He is survived by his wife, Bat-Ami (Schiller); two daughters, Anat (Elisha) Gertner of Israel and Talya (Stuart) Rothenberg of Maplewood; his son, Aryeh (Elizabeth) of Short Hills; and eight grandchildren.
Services were held June 26 with arrangements by Menorah Chapels at Millburn, Union.