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“Myer, invest the money with your friend Warren.”
May 5, 2014 5:02 PM   Subscribe

Rabbi Myer Kripke, of Omaha, dies at 100. The New York Times obituary tells the story of the Kripkes and a couple they played bridge with and became friends with, Susan and Warren Buffett. In 1966, they approached Buffett to manage their savings, and they wound up making $25 million, all of which they gave away. The Times piece also devotes a half a sentence to Rabbi Kripke's son, "Saul Kripke, a Princeton scholar who has been called the world’s greatest living philosopher" (cynics should note that Saul Kripke shot to prominence before his parents were rich).
posted by grobstein (19 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
I liked this very much.
posted by discopolo at 5:06 PM on May 5 [1 favorite]


$25 million, all of which they gave away

I hope they got themselves a little something at least....a new set of tires for the Chevy, new slipcovers for the sofa, maybe one of those card tables with green felt.
posted by thelonius at 5:15 PM on May 5 [5 favorites]


Move over Saul, there's a new Kripkenstein in the house.
posted by Beardman at 5:16 PM on May 5 [2 favorites]


If you take the time to look every day, you find some of the most amazing gems in the NYT obituary section. I particularly like the articles on ordinary, not famous people who quietly contributed so much to the world (like this one).
posted by double bubble at 5:21 PM on May 5 [4 favorites]


I am left with a perhaps hopelessly naive question: why couldn't they procure a kosher turkey? I mean, wouldn't the rabbi have been qualified to supervise the slaughter of a turkey he was going to eat?
posted by hoyland at 5:21 PM on May 5 [1 favorite]


Rabbi Kripke lived a few room down from my grandfather at the Jewish nursing home in Omaha (also built with Buffett money) for a time. The money aside, he was clearly a modest, unassuming pillar of the community in a classic way we just don't seem to have anymore. The Omaha World-Herald obit goes into a little more detail than the Times.

.
posted by zachlipton at 5:21 PM on May 5 [6 favorites]


you find some of the most amazing gems in the NYT obituary section

I still think this obit headline is pure poetry, and I remember it after 21 years. So, yes.
posted by thelonius at 5:30 PM on May 5 [4 favorites]


You'd need someone with the technical skill to kill the turkey in the mandated way.

And wow, cool story.

Saul Kripke is awsome.
posted by milestogo at 5:34 PM on May 5


The Times piece also devotes a half a sentence to Rabbi Kripke's son, "Saul Kripke, a Princeton scholar who has been called the world’s greatest living philosopher" (cynics should note that Saul Kripke shot to prominence before his parents were rich).

Saul Kripke wrote Naming and Necessity, which has been influential in the world of analytic philosophy. What blew my mind as a graduate student reading this is that apparently (so the story goes), it's a compilation of three lectures that he did off the top of his head, with no notes. Yes, he's quite good.
posted by SpacemanStix at 5:55 PM on May 5 [4 favorites]


I took a logic class from a guy who knew Kripke at Harvard. He had a story about telling Kripke, all excited, about some mathematical theorem he had just come up with, and Kripke told him that he had proved it in high school and that it was somewhere in his desk at home; he didn't consider it worth publishing.
posted by thelonius at 6:02 PM on May 5


I imagine in Nebraska at the time the families started socializing, kosher turkeys might have been harder to come by, and shipping one in seems too extravagant for both what I know of the Buffetts and what I gather about the Kripkes. It sounds like a classy and acceptable solution was found and became a sweet tradition.

Both the Buffetts and the Kripkes seem like good role models for people who find themselves suddenly wealthy.
posted by padraigin at 7:12 PM on May 5 [1 favorite]


I am left with a perhaps hopelessly naive question: why couldn't they procure a kosher turkey?

Off the top of my head, a nice fish platter wouldn't need to be heated, so there'd be no need for a kosher oven; and assuming it was the only such fish at the dinner, there'd be no chance of accidentally confusing it with the non-kosher food. (Not to mention that getting an entire turkey for two guests seems like overkill.)

That said, who knows, maybe he didn't like turkey. Fregt nisht kashas af a mayse. [Don't ask questions about the logic of a story that happened.]
posted by Shmuel510 at 7:13 PM on May 5 [11 favorites]


there's a new Kripkenstein in the house

Kripkenstein is a term of art in the philosophical literature denoting someone who interprets Wittgenstein in the manner of Saul Kripke. Philosophers are weird.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 7:42 PM on May 5 [3 favorites]


I imagine in Nebraska at the time the families started socializing, kosher turkeys might have been harder to come by, and shipping one in seems too extravagant for both what I know of the Buffetts and what I gather about the Kripkes.

I can answer that, as I am the research specialist at the Douglas County Historical Society in Omaha.

There were a lot of Jewish-owned grocery stores in the 60s, including Cinderella's on Dodge Street, that offered a complete selection of kosher foods, including a bakery.

I think the issue descibed in the story is that it's actually sort of unclear if turkeys even are kosher. Nowadays the answer is mostly yes, but the Bible doesn't actually tell us how to decide if a bird is kosher or not; it just lists birds we can eat and not eat. And the turkey? Never mentioned.

So many Jews just skip the turkey altogether, and that was even more the case back in the 60s.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:27 PM on May 5 [16 favorites]


Oh, wow! When I was at the uni studying philosophy, Saul Kripke was quite the rock star in our little corner of analytical philosophy, he was doing some very fresh and exciting work. I've thought of him throughout the years, even though I left academia decades ago - and I really stopped following the field, but Kripke made such an impression on me. He made me think in ways few other philosophers did. I had no idea about his parents and the connection to Buffett. Small world indeed.
posted by VikingSword at 10:02 PM on May 5 [1 favorite]


I had no idea about Kripke's Nebraska roots, and I wrote my dissertation on him. Good thing it didn't come up during the defense.
posted by professor plum with a rope at 1:19 AM on May 6


Kosher turkeys are hard to come by. Sure you can get it for $80 at the Gelsons if you're in LA. Last time, I had to have it shipped in from Pennsylvania. What the hell turkeys?
posted by hal_c_on at 1:19 AM on May 6


What I got from this obituary is the opinion that the daughter ought to divest her dictionary collection into the US prison system, and collect something else instead.
posted by oceanjesse at 3:25 AM on May 6


Yeah, the dictionary thing (linked by the NYT) is pretty trippy.
posted by latkes at 6:21 AM on May 6 [1 favorite]


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