REMEMBRANCES of EDITH GOODMAN
FOUNDER OF THE
CONTRA COSTA SECTION IN 1984
Zichrona livreha 1917 – 1993
THE EARLY YEARS IN NEW YORK…
Edith McClosky Goodman was born in New York in 1917. By the young age of 16, Edith was working at a ladies hat shop in the Empire State Building, soon becoming the store manager. During those hat shop years, Edith and Ted met and were married in 1938 in New York. Sometime during their years in NY, Edith joined NCJW. From the age of 16, when Edith managed the hat shop, and throughout her work years and lifelong NCJW membership, Edith was refining her leadership skills and honing her sales and customer service skills – all of which would serve her well in her many years of leadership roles with NCJW. On a personal note, Edith had a great sense of style, color and fashion! Edith was also a gourmet cook and enjoyed gourmet foods with friends and family! And she always presented a positive point of view, whatever the topic. There was much laughter and camaraderie with Edith, whatever the topic of discussion!
THE CHICAGO/MIDWEST YEARS… Park Forest Station Section – The First Section Edith Founded
After NY, Edith & Ted lived for some years in Detroit, Michigan. Ted’s company then moved them to Chicago Heights, Illinois. While living in Illinois, in 1949 when Edith was around 32 years old, she founded the Park Forest Section, which many years later merged with the South Cook Section of Chicago.
THE CAMARILLO YEARS… Camarillo Section - The Second Section Edith Founded
After some years in the Chicago area, in 1952, Edith & Ted and children Stephen and Gail moved to Southern California because Edith’s brothers and family and Edith’s mother lived there. Years later, Gail married and had 2 children, Rachel and Scott. It was during these years, Edith & Ted lost their daughter Gail suddenly due to a medical issue. Edith and Ted were devoted to Rachel and Scott during the Camarillo years and would host them on vacations after they moved to Rossmoor.
It was during the years in Camarillo that Edith founded her second section - the Camarillo Section. I remember how proudly Edith spoke about one of the Camarillo Section projects being a phone line that latch-key children could call when they were not able to connect with a parent or family member to talk about whatever issues might be of concern to them after they were home from school until their parents were home.
While Edith always actively supported NJCW, she also supported other charities throughout her life, such as MS fundraising in southern California in support of an NCJW member with MS.
In 1981 when the NCJW Western District Field Representative Arlene Sarver read in the Camarillo NCJW Bulletin that Edith Goodman was soon moving from Camarillo to Rossmoor in northern California, she gave Edith a call. Arlene very happily announced to Edith, “Do I have a job for you!” So that connection was the very beginning of Edith’s networking and brainstorming about forming a Contra Costa Section. Arlene also recalls that whether Edith was conducting a board meeting or a special NCJW event, watching Edith in action was a sight to behold! Also she was a remarkable multitasker.
Arlene recalls that Edith was very creative and had an attitude of making it possible for members to serve NCJW in ways that fit the individual, not fitting individuals in traditions ways of serving an organization! And for new members who didn’t feel they had the time to serve NCJW, Edith always let them know it was not a problem - that there would be a time later when NCJW would have a job that would them well. That’s one of the reasons she was so excited about forming a new section. Also Arlene said that with Edith’s depth of NCJW background and upbeat spirit, during national conventions and training workshops, Arlene would assign Edith to be a group leader with younger women, knowing how well she engaged members of all ages and backgrounds. Arlene also spoke about Edith being fond of saying that the reason she slept so well was because her time and efforts made other people’s lives better!
One of Edith’s priorities was to set up projects in such a way that they involved younger and older members working together. She was instrumental in starting the Evening Contra Costa Branch, which later became a section – with both the day and evening sections always working closely together.
THE CONTRA COSTA YEARS… Contra Costa Section – The Third Section Edith Founded
In 1981, Ted and Edith moved to Rossmoor to be near their son Stephen his wife Alice, and their twin middle-school boys Greg and Paul. After getting settled in Rossmoor, Edith networked with women in the Contra Costa Jewish community about forming a new NCJW section. During 1983, Edith was joyfully preoccupied with her grandsons Greg and Paul’s b’nai mitzvah preparations and service at Congregation B’nai Shalom. Her grandsons are now grown, both married and living close by in Oakland. Grandparents Steve and Alice live in Alamo and enjoy their time with Greg & Kim’s preschool daughter Torunn and son Teague, as well as spending time with Paul and Erin.
In addition to her grandsons’ b’nai mitzvah, 1983 was also the year that Vera Ginsburg, a long-time and very active member of a New Jersey Section, moved with her family to Alamo. She and Edith were both members of B’nai Shalom – it was a match made in NCJW heaven – two long-time council members with prior leadership skills – oy vey! Vera and Edith brainstormed about forming a Contra Costa Section. So that’s when plans for a new section in Contra Costa County began percolating and gathering steam…
In the spring of 1984 is when I first read in the Jewish Bulletin about the formation of a new section in Contra Costa County. Edith had a team assembled who were very active in printing, addressing and mailing invitations to members of Jewish organizations in central Contra Costa, inviting them to NCJW informational teas highlighting NCJW’s philanthropic and public affairs activities. I called Edith and offered my assistance on her mailing team. There was much camaraderie between the long-time NCJW members and the new members as they worked together during the formation and formative years of the Contra Costa Section. Thirty years later, the camaraderie continues on…
One of the many areas Edith worked on was coalescing with other Contra Costa County women’s organizations that had goals similar to NCJW. Of note is that Edith was nominated for the Woman of the Year in Contra Costa County most likely in the late 1980s.
Arlene mentioned that one of Edith’s priorities was to set up projects in such a way that they involved younger and older members working together. She was instrumental in starting the Evening Contra Costa Branch, which later became a section – with both the day and evening sections always working closely together.
NJCW NATIONAL BOARD STORIES…
JoAnn Marks, an active member of the Portland Section, was a National Board member with Edith for some years – they were known as a dynamic duo on the NCJW National Board! Although Edith had a medical condition during those years, she planned ahead and scheduled her important medical procedures around her National Board meetings. JoAnn and Edith both represented the NCJW Western Region. On their first trip to NY for a national board meeting, JoAnn and Edith were assigned as roommates – and they kept that friendship and remained roommates during their years on the Board! I understand there was much laughter and good times going on into late nights after a full day of staying on top of their game as they gave their best efforts and input at the national board meetings.
Prior to her move to CA in 1986, Charlene Spielvogel gave the CC Section a call, and spoke with Edith, knowing that NCJW is the go-to group for information regarding Contra Costa cities, schools, etc. Before the 45-minute call ended, Charlene had volunteered to accept a board position to begin shortly after her arrival in Moraga. It was an unexpected bonus to the call! Charlene has been a liaison to the NCJW National office in NY for many years.
TIDBITS SHARED BY COUNCIL MEMBERS…
Edith was a friend to everyone, a force of nature.
Edith spent time connecting with county politicians, including Supervisor Sunne McPeak, as well as having regular communications with Congressman George Miller, always stopping by his Washington office when attending national conventions in DC. Edith also thought it important for Contra Costa Section to maintain a relationship with state politicians as well, thus there were CCC members carpooling to Sacramento for years promoting women and children’s rights. An amusing story Edith shared one year was Congressman George Miller’s note to Edith, which arrived in her mailbox before she got back home from an NCJW convention in DC. Edith said that all of his daily responsibilities, she thought it very thoughtful for him to write her a ‘sorry I missed you’ note, how he regretted not being able to meet with her and hoped to see her soon back in Contra Costa before she could dash off a ‘sorry I missed you’ note to him. Yes, George knew he and Edith/NCJW shared many similar goals and was a valuable ally!
EDITH’s LEGACY: Edith’s legacy lives on in the Contra Costa Section! Edith’s legacy is the past, present and further members of Contra Costa Section - women of various ages and backgrounds who want to make a difference in the Contra Costa community, focused on the community’s current needs, as well as supporting NCJW’s National goals. Mazel Tov on this 30-plus years’ Anniversary Celebration Luncheon!
With much pride and joy, I share these memories of NCJW Contra Costa Section Founder Edith Goodman. I deeply appreciate the founding members mentioned and significant others who shared their Edith/founding stories, especially Edith’s son Stephen Goodman.
Sincerely, Sharon Fisher, founding member, Contra Costa SectionType your paragraph here.