Judd Magilnick (1952 – 2020)

We write to report the sudden passing of our dear friend and roommate, Judd Magilnick (TD), from a heart attack on September 23, 2020. 

Judd moved to Los Angeles shortly after graduation to pursue a career in filmmaking.  Over time, his interests shifted, and he turned from his camera to his pen, founding and running MarketPlace America, a trade and communications consulting firm.  At about the same time, Judd, who had grown up in a Reform Jewish family in suburban Connecticut, took up Torah study in Los Angeles, and soon became an active member of LA’s Modern Orthodox community and a leader in his synagogue, the Pacific Jewish Center (The Shul on the Beach).  He also became active in conservative political circles, writing thoughtful articles for the American Spectator and other conservative journals. Together with his family, Judd’s Jewish identity and his commitment to Jewish tradition were the pillars of his life.  

Judd was a kind and gentle soul known for his deep, iconoclastic intelligence and his amazingly quick wit. He was as facile with a pun as he was in finding humor in life’s many ironies. Judd readily opened his heart and his ear to anyone who approached him.  He was a loyal friend, beloved by his classmates in TD.  He actively maintained his Yale friendships throughout his life by attending our reunions with his cherished wife, Denise, sending dozens of carefully curated articles to his many Yale friends according to their interests, regularly participating in our weekly Covid-era Zoom calls, and welcoming any classmate who happened to be stranded for a weekend in LA to his Shabbat dinner table.

Judd met Denise shortly after moving west.  She was the love of his life, and they formed a perfect partnership.  One could not have scripted a better suited or more loving couple.  Together they raised five wonderful children – Nathaniel, Joshua, Aryeh, Gavriel, and Betsy – who adored Judd and whom he adored; there was much to be learned from Judd about parenting.  He also leaves behind ten grandchildren who, sadly, will not get to play with him, learn from his wise counsel, or laugh at his jokes as they grow up.

All of us who knew him at Yale will miss him deeply.  May his memory be a blessing.

(Submitted by Bill Schwartz and Doug Berman)