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'It's My Job to Give Back Now'
There was a defining moment for Rosalie Goldberg in a "very emotional caucus" at the end of a 1984 mission to Israel sponsored by the Bux-Mont Women's Division of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.
"I decided then and there that if our family wasn't going to move to Israel - a place that I had just fallen in love with - then I had to give my financial support and time to help the Jewish homeland," said Goldberg, a vice president of what is now the Women's Philanthropy division of Federation.
"The mission also brought together a group of women who are best friends to this day," she noted. "When we came back from Israel, we wanted to make people in our area aware of Federation, feel that they were part of it and want to contribute funds for the people it helps.
"There weren't many Jews living in the Bucks/Montgomery counties area at the time," she continued, "but as more Jewish families moved in, my friends and I held educational programs about Federation's work. We also learned how to ask for a gift, and then taught others to do the same, as well as explained the need for local services and how Federation dollars help people just like themselves."
Some 17 years after her first mission - one of five, to date - Goldberg went on the Women's Philanthropy Leadership Mission to Poland and Israel with many of the friends she'd first met via that form of travel. "On the one hand, we were so proud to be on the March of the Living, and be with Jewish youth and say, 'We're back, we survived.' On the other hand, the best part was leaving the grayness and the cold for the sunshine in Israel where everything was so alive."
Goldberg has served as Women's Division's campaign co-chair, as its corresponding secretary and has co-chaired Women's Division Major Gifts, Ruby and Top Gifts divisions. A past president of the sisterhood of Congregation Beth Or in Springfield, she served on the synagogue's board. She is also a member of Women's American ORT.
With her husband, Goldberg is also involved in the Leonard and Madlyn Abramson Center for Jewish Life. She participates in its auxiliary; her husband, Harvey Goldberg, is its incoming board chair.
"We share a deep concern for the elderly. Many of these people have no living relatives or their families live far away. We need to provide the funds that give them the security of being cared for. These are our mother and fathers, aunts and uncles. If we don't take care of them, who will?
"It's my job to give back now," answered the daughter of hard-working salespeople who was "raised modestly" in Northeast Philadelphia.
"This is a belief I share with our three grown children, and will with our grandson, Andrew, and twin granddaughters, Ashley and Hailey. Andrew goes to preschool at Shir Ami [Bucks County Jewish Congregation in Newtown]. That makes us happy. There is continuity."
Looking forward, Goldberg said her hopes for the future are simple - like so many other people's. "I hope for peace and a time when people will not have to be afraid. I hope our children and grandchildren will have a good life and be menschen."