Dr. David A. Kipper, 71, a clinical psychologist, research professor and philanthropist who was instrumental in bringing the Joffrey Ballet to Chicago, died of cancer Thursday, Dec. 2, in his Chicago home, said his wife, Barbara Levy Kipper.
his 30 years as a psychotherapist, Dr. Kipper helped countless people
in his native Israel and later Chicago, where he established a private
practice. For the past 15 years, he also worked as a research professor
of psychology at Roosevelt University.
the 1990s, Dr. Kipper and his wife were part of a group that helped
move the Joffrey Ballet from New York to Chicago. Dr. Kipper was named
the Joffrey's first board chairman in 1995 and was one of three life
"This is a tremendous loss for the city and me
personally," said Fred Eychaner, the current Joffrey Ballet board
chairman. "Dr. Kipper … dared to dream the impossible dream of
establishing a world-class ballet company in our city. My solace is that
David lived to see the Joffrey flourish."
In addition to his
counseling career and dedication to the arts, Dr. Kipper showed great
devotion for Israel and the Jewish community. He served in various
leadership roles for the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of
Metropolitan Chicago, the American Jewish Congress and the
He was born in Tel Aviv in 1939 and received his bachelor's degree in
psychology from Bar Ilan University in Israel in 1964. He received his
doctorate from the University of Durham in England in 1969.
Dr. Kipper's interest in the field of psychotherapy
prompted him to move to New York to study with Dr. Jacob L. Moreno, at
the Moreno Institute for Psychotherapy and Psychodrama. There, Dr.
Kipper met Barbara Levy, a student from Chicago who would become his
"I fell in love with his voice," she recalled. "He was a wise and kind man, and he had a way of making people feel wonderful."
In October 1973, amid the violence of the Yom Kippur War, Dr. Kipper returned to Israel, where he did desensitization therapy.
the war, Dr. Kipper traveled to Chicago for his wedding ceremony in
1974, then the newlyweds settled in Israel. From 1974 to 1986, Dr.
Kipper served as a faculty member at Bar Ilan University and co-founded
the music therapy program.
Dr. Kipper wrote extensively on
psychotherapy, writing one book, "Psychotherapy Through Clinical Role
Playing," and more than 70 chapters and articles in professional
In 1986, the couple moved to Chicago, where his wife
became chairwoman of her family's book distribution business, the Chas.
Back in Chicago, Dr. Kipper and his wife developed a love
for the Joffrey Ballet and a close friendship with Robert Joffrey. The
couple's passion for the troupe fueled their drive to bring the Joffrey
In 1995, their dream came true, with much of the
Joffrey's belongings transported to Chicago on Chas. Levy trucks. In
honor of the Kippers' years of support, the company named one of its
three principal studios at the Joffrey Tower for the couple.
"He loved the Joffrey," said his wife, "but it was his family and his Jewish identity that were at the very core of this man."
Other survivors include two daughters, Talia and Tamar; and two grandchildren.
Services will be at 1 p.m. Sunday at Anshe Emet Synagogue, 3751 N. Broadway, Chicago.
© Joffrey Ballet. All rights reserved.