The Russian-American Jewish community will honor former New York mayor Ed Koch in the 2013 annual Limmud FSU Summit. Koch, who presided over New York City during the turbulent late 1970s and '80s and came to personify the city with his wry and outspoken style, died on Friday at the age of 88, his spokesman said.

“Ed Koch played a massive role for the Jewish community of New York. Outside of him being a great Mayor for the city, he also played an influential role in bringing Russian Jewish immigrants to New York during the Russian waves of immigration,” said Sandra Cahn, co-founder of Limmud FSU. “He was always open and understanding to all cultures in New York and was very welcoming to the Russian Jewish community, a community that contributed to the cultural mosaic of the city. The Jewish community is forever indebted to Mayor Koch.”

Over 600 participants, among them Israel's ambassador to the US Michael Oren, are expected to attend the summit, which is set to take place in New Jersey.

Koch died of congestive heart failure at about 2 a.m. (0700 GMT) at New York-Presbyterian hospital after a year of repeated hospitalizations, the spokesman for Koch said.

Koch, who comes from a family of conservative Jews, was a strong supporter of Israel. In an opinion piece he wrote for The Jerusalem Post in April 2010 Koch declared, "my support for the Jewish state has been long and steadfast."

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