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Eternal Exile

Shivah Stars

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Ilya Zhitomirskiy.(David Goldman/NYT)

Each week, we select the most interesting Jewish obituary. This week’s section is dotted with Jewish names: New York City Opera impresario Irwin Schneiderman (father of N.Y. attorney general Eric); breast-cancer activist Evelyn H. Lauder; Irving Franklin, inventor of the modern baseball batting glove.

But it seems appropriate to remember Ilya Zhitomirskiy, who was found dead Saturday in San Francisco, likely the victim of suicide, at 22 (I know). With three friends from NYU, he created Diaspora*, a social network intended to be the open source antithesis of Facebook—and what could be more Jewish than that (and that name!)? Born in Moscow to two mathematicians, Zhitomirskiy was, according to Diaspora* mentor Eben Moglen, the most idealistic of the site’s founders.

Ilya Zhitomirskiy Dies at 22; Co-Founded Social Network [NYT]
Earlier: The Facebook Diaspora*

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The death of Ilya Zhitomirskiy is certainly a tragedy, and Diaspora* is certainly an interesting start-up. But is there any real evidence that Zhitomirskiy was Jewish. The memorial services for him are not being held in Jewish funeral homes.

an admirer says:

Ilya’s family in Philadelphia is Russian Orthodox. A charitable fund has been set up in his name.

The Diaspora* blog has many memorials, such as


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Eternal Exile

Shivah Stars

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