Jon Soroko, In Memoriam

Jon Soroko, Gretchen Kehde, circa 2001

Jon Soroko, Gretchen Kehde, circa 2001

Jon Soroko, co-founder with me of Popular Logistics, and an integral part of this campaign, died in his sleep late in the afternoon of Monday, May 13, 2013 at his home in Brooklyn, New York.

Jon’s last post on Popular Logistics“Leave Improvisation to Actors, Comedians, and Musicians – and Develop Coherent Disaster & Risk Policies” sounded the keynote of much of his activity. Jon viewed disaster preparation as a means to build communities of friends out of collections of strangers. Instead of the sole providence of Federal and state agencies, and often a budgetary afterthought, Jon saw disaster preparation as a framework in which to build and strengthen local communities, connect people, and forge bonds between a citizenry and their government.

Jon was a lawyer and a former prosecutor with the DA’s offices in Bronx and Manhattan. Jon was a brilliant guy, and a bit of a character.

A graduate of Bard College and New York Law School, Jon is survived by his widow, Gretchen Kehde, and her children Bea and Gabriel, of Brooklyn NY, his mother Doris Soroko, his sister Elizabeth O’Donnell and her son, Collin Peterson, of Barrytown, NY, brothers Humy and Micha, of Israel, and nephews Michael, of Israel, and Uri, of Berlin, and siblings from his father’s final marriage, Renen Mosinzon and Gil Mosinzon. He is also survived by his aunts Susan Purdy, Jacqui Soroko and Pearl Levine, and cousins, Amy Levine, Larry Levine, Kathy Harry, Eric Siles and Dana Siles.

Jon was predeceased by his father, Igal Mossinsohn, uncle, Moshe Mosenzon and cousins, Dvora Omer, and Vered Mosenzon, all of whom were Israeli writers. He is also predeceased by his brothers Avital Mossinsohn and Ido Mossinsohn, who was killed in action in the 1973 Arab-Israeli war. Ido was also a talented actor.

In December, 2012, Jon gave a seminar on electronic discovery at NY Law School. He was working to develop a series of presentations on the topic, an ambition, sadly, that has been cut short.

Everyone who knew Jon knows that he would go to any length to help those he loved, whether human or furry. (Or human and furry). To calm witnesses, he taught them how to juggle. He taught karate on the pier for free, Monday through Friday, year round, including the dead of winter.

Jon also did magic tricks, mostly slight of hand involving coins. One of his best performances took place at the Inter-Continental Hotel, about 20 years ago at a dinner honoring Radovan Karadzic, the alleged war criminal and former President of Republika Srpska, a Serbian enclave of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Karadzic had just finished speaking and was in the hotel lobby, surrounded by his entourage, when Jon reached out to shake his hand, but instead served him a subpoena.

Donations are welcome to the Jon Soroko Memorial Fund, to assist the family and further Jon’s passion for social equality, justice and disaster preparedness.

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