Dov Benjamin Wisnia was remembered as a “live-out-loud sort of guy” and someone whose “life, laughter and light touched everyone who knew him.”
Wisnia, 33, was the son of Rabbi Eric Wisnia — religious leader of Congregation Beth Chaim in Princeton Junction for 35 years — and grandson of David Wisnia, the former cantor at Har Sinai Temple in Trenton, which has since relocated to Pennington.
Dov Wisnia died Oct. 31 at his family home in Yardley, Pa, after a five-year battle with brain tumors. During that time, he had been involved with the No Brainer Benefit Concert, supporting the National Brain Tumor Society.
A lifelong musician, active in the Philadelphia and Washington, DC, music scenes, he was a member of several bands, including The Sneeks and Halloween Big Band.
By day he was a real estate broker for several prominent firms in the Philadelphia area, specializing in restaurants and food service companies. He became the first “eco-broker” in Philadelphia, championing sustainability and energy efficiency.
A resident of Philadelphia for the past 10 years, he was devoted to bettering his community and serving as an advocate for the city.
The funeral, which had to be delayed because of Hurricane Sandy, was held Nov. 4 at Congregation Shir Ami in Newtown, Pa., because Beth Chaim was still without power.
Beth Chaim’s Cantor Stuart Binder described Dov as “a live-out-loud sort of guy; the kind of guy that was the singer at every party.”
“There were so many people at his funeral because he touched so many lives, including people who because of him would later become best friends or spouses,” said Binder. “He was really good at connecting people.”
Binder recalled that when Dov was growing up at Beth Chaim, he was president of its youth group and had been “very active” in both the synagogue and the Reform movement’s Camp Harlam.
Born in Princeton, he was raised in East Windsor and Yardley. He was a graduate of Pennsbury High School and George Washington University, where he studied urban planning.
On the guest book attached to his obituary on legacy.com, many friends and current and former congregants at Beth Chaim shared their memories of a young man some had known since childhood.
Allie (Alice) Leibowitz of Roswell, Ga., reached out to her former rabbi. “I remember Dov as a small child…so adorable, happy and bright…, his parents’ pride and joy,” she wrote. “I had no idea of what he was battling the last few years. But had I known, I would have been confident in the fact that he would make the very most of whatever time he had left on the earth…. This was obviously what he did.”
Becky (Rubin) Tountas wrote, “Dov was a staple in my life for many years, and I have so many wonderful memories of him. The outpouring of love at the funeral yesterday was evidence of how much Dov affected so many of us. Dov’s untimely death was a huge loss to this world, and I am deeply saddened.”
David and Evelyn Uretsky of Columbus, Ohio, posted their recollection of Dov as someone whose “life, laughter and light touched everyone who knew him.”
In addition to his father and grandfather, Dov is survived by his mother, Judith Glassburg Wisnia; his brother, Avi of Yardley; his sister and brother-in-law, Sara Wisnia and Matthew Schiffer of Sebastopol, Calif.; and his grandmother, Hope Wisnia of Levittown, Pa. Dov was also the grandson of the late Lee and Mae Glassburg.
Funeral arrangements were by Orland’s Ewing Memorial Chapel, Ewing Township. Burial was at Roosevelt Memorial Park, Trevose, Pa.
Memorial contributions may be made to the National Brain Tumor Society via the “Team Dov” page for the Race for Hope-Philadelphia at braintumorcommunity.org/goto/dov, which as of Nov. 8 had raised almost $38,000.