The Other Jerry Rubin




Stew Albert


Jerry Rubin died in 1994. He was an original Yippie, the author of "Do It!" and a defendant in the Chicago Conspiracy Trial of 1969. But there is another Jerry Rubin who is very much among the living. He resides in Santa Monica and is also a political activist. He sometimes speaks at public events and is occasionally quoted in the press. Unfortunately some inexperienced reporters incorrectly refer to the second Jerry as a "Yippie founder" and a member of the "Chicago Conspiracy." This leads to painful misunderstandings.

I receive questions from those who read my eulogy piece on this website and now wonder if I wasn't engaging in some kind of Yippie prank when I announced Jerry's death. There is always the student who, based on his or her reading of my piece, wrote in a term paper that Jerry was dead. They now write me, terrified that I have set them up for a flunking grade. Perhaps the most worthy example of the Rubin confusion is the e-mail I recently received from a representative of the Jewish Big Brothers. It is high minded, compassionate and yet somehow darkly comical. It follows.

November 23, 1998

Mr. Albert,

I am the Program Secretary for Jewish Big Brothers and I received your story about Jerry Rubin through e-mail. I am only 30 years old and have never heard of Jerry, but those around me seem to know a lot about him and all the incredible things he had accomplished in his short time with us.

The reason for my letter is that I am experiencing a small dilemma. I spoke to a Jerry Rubin regarding our program last week. I sent him some info and was expecting to hear from him about coming in for an orientation to start as a Big Brother in the program.

I am wondering if our Jerry Rubins are one in the same. There had been some speculating going on in my office about if this was "The Jerry Rubin" when he called last week. And now after reading your story we would like to find out for sure. Our Jerry was born in December of 1943, lives in Santa Monica and is currently working at the ACLU. If you could find the time to send me a quick note about this I would appreciate it very much.

I understand that this is not a very happy time for you and I am sorry for your loss, but I felt a little apprehensive about calling his home number and just asking for him after seeing your story. If our Jerrys are one in the same, I'm sure it would be more than uncomfortable for the person answering his telephone.

Thank you for taking the time to answer my letter. And if our Jerrys turn out to be one in the same, we will have the knowledge that one of his last acts on earth was to find out how he could help a child in need by becoming a Jewish Big Brother.






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