Sis Levin

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Lucille Hare Moss Levin (born c. 1931 in Mountain Brook; died September 11, 2020 in Birmingham) was a peace activist and a supporter of the arts.

She graduated from Ramsay High School in 1948. She met her husband, Jerry when he was working in Birmingham in the 1970s as news director for WBRC. The couple soon relocated to Houston, Texas where he began working as a correspondent for CNN. After that they lived in Washington D.C.; Chicago, Illinois; and Beirut Lebanon, where he worked as CNN's Middle East Bureau Chief.

On March 7, 1984 Jerry Levin was among the first of 17 Americans taken hostage by Islamists during the Lebanese Civil War. Sis Levin devoted herself to winning his freedom. She contacted activist Landrum Bolling and pursued opportunities to press for his release via Syria. In the meantime, he managed to escape and was found by Syrian soldiers, who soon turned him over to U.S. officials at the embassy in Damascus. The couple were reunited at a US Air Force hospital in West Germany.

Sis completed a doctorate in peace education at Colombia University, and published the first book-length account of their experiences, entitled West Bank Diary. Jerry who had converted to Christianity, began working as news and information director for World Vision United States. Their ordeal was dramatized in a 1991 ABC-TV movie, "Held Hostage: The Sis and Jerry Levin Story." In the years since, the Levins both worked to promote global peace and non-violence through writings, speeches and activism. They worked with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) to pursue non-violent activism in conflict areas, focusing on Palestinians subjugated by the Israeli government. They flew to Baghdad in 2003 as part of a CPT delegation which stood with local activists to protest the United States' invasion of Iraq. They established a Community Nonviolence Resource Center in Pasadena, California. In 2009 the Dalai Lama recognized the Levins as, "Unsung Heroes of Compassion".

Settling again in Birmingham the Levins also established themselves as supporters of the arts, in particular Opera Birmingham. The couple traveled frequently, visiting major opera houses around the world.

Sis Levin died in September 2020, just seven months after Jerry's death. She was survived by six children, eleven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Publications

  • Levin, Sis (1989) Beirut Diary: A Husband Held Hostage and a Wife Determined to Set Him Free. Westmont, Illinois: InterVarsity Press ISBN 9780830817160

References