I am reading in the news that Teddy Kollek, formerly mayor of Jerusalem for six consecutive terms (twenty-eight years), has passed away at the age of 95. As I heard it, he was a good friend to the LDS Church, a friend who supported the plan to build the BYU Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies that now stands so beautifully on Mt. Scopus. This couldn’t have been very easy at the time, as it was a controversial project. Since it was built, that building and its programs have played a very important role in the lives of many LDS people. It is a very special place in that most special, historic and sacred city.

I had the opportunity to meet Teddy Kollek once at the BYU Jerusalem Center. I can’t remember what the occasion or function was but we were in the “upper room” as many of us called it at the time. I remember him as a distinguished older man, dressed very nicely and carrying a cane. He was obviously a VIP guest but he was very approachable and warm. He took time to shake my hand and chat with me for a few minutes. It’s one of those special memory snapshots I’ll always carry around with me.

I’m sure there are a large number of LDS people who have Teddy Kollek stories to tell, though I wonder if any of them read blogs.

Update: Justin B. was kind enough to provide me with some more links (1, 2) of interest regarding Teddy Kolleck. Link #2 is titled: “Reflections on Howard W. Hunter in Jerusalem: An Interview with Teddy Kollek”

Update 2: Now there is an article in the Deseret News as well.