Mr. Erlick retired in 1994 as editor of the Jewish Exponent, a publication he had served for 24 years. During his editorship, he won awards for a series of editorials on the search for peace in the Middle East and for a series of articles on his visit to refuseniks in the former Soviet Union. He also was the recipient of the American Jewish Press Association’s annual award for journalistic integrity and a special award for the Exponent’s centennial anniversary edition, published in 1987.
He interviewed many world leaders, including multiple American presidents at the White House, and participated in many panels relating to political, social and religious unrest at home and abroad. He edited numerous articles and books and was a freelance writer.
He also taught journalism courses at his alma mater, Temple University, and served for several years on the board of directors of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. He returned to journalism in 1998, serving for a year as acting editor of Washington Jewish Week.
Before coming to the Exponent, Mr. Erlick was editor of the weekly Motion Picture Exhibitor magazine, a national publication covering the film industry. He also was a co-founder of the Center City Philadelphian, which later would become Philadelphia Magazine.
As a member of the Jewish Community Relations Council Speakers Bureau he frequently lectured before synagogue groups and community organizations. Just weeks before his death, Mr. Erlick lectured on current events and politics at his community in Florida, drawing packed houses in a large auditorium.
All the while, he participated in his other lifelong love – the theater, performing in productions at People’s Light and Theatre Company, the Walnut Theatre, Cheltenham Playhouse, the Bourse, Neighborhood Players and Plays for Living in Philadelphia. He toured with national productions of “The Fantastiks” and “Julius Caesar,” among others, and – more recently – took to the stage in a Florida Children’s Theatre’s family series, performing in “Seussical” and “Mary Poppins” at 87 and 88 years old, respectively.
Before moving to Florida, he worked for a time at Penguin Photos in Chestnut Hill.
Born in Cleveland, Mr. Erlick moved with his family to Philadelphia in 1935. He was a graduate of Olney High School and Temple University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He served in the Army with the first occupational troops in Japan under General Douglas MacArthur immediately following World War II.
A lifelong baseball fan, he never stopped rooting for the Cleveland Indians, with the Phillies a close second. He also enjoyed playing cards.
He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Barbara; a daughter, Janet, of Fort Lauderdale; a son, Kenneth, of Portland, Ore.; a sister, Mickey Zacher; a brother, Samuel Dolnick; and five grandchildren.
A celebration of Mr. Erlick’s life will be held at 4 p.m. Sunday, June 25, at the Ethical Society of Philadelphia, 1906 Rittenhouse Square in Center City Philadelphia. Memorial donations may be made to the Florida Children’s Theatre (www.FLCT.org) or to the International Center for Journalists (www.icjf.org). – WF