Joyce S. Kutler, a beloved public relations director at the Jewish Community Relations Council of Philadelphia for many years, died Feb. 14.
Her involvement in the Jewish community extended to activism at her synagogue, Germantown Jewish Centre, as well as the local chapter of American Jewish Congress, where Kutler served in a variety of roles, including president of the Shirley Gettlin Chapter and as executive vice president of the organization’s Greater Philadelphia Women’s Division.
She also had been public information chief for what was then called the Jewish Ys and Centers of Greater Philadelphia.
At JCRC, she chaired its Northwest Division before taking on her media role.
Burt Siegel, who was associate executive director of JCRC when she was hired in 1978 and was the agency’s executive director at the time she retired, recalls Kutler as “the unsung resource of the Jewish community; when the media wanted to get information about anything Jewish or an informed quote, they knew that if they went to Joyce she made their jobs easy, she understood the issues and knew the people to go to.
“She cared deeply about the role JCRC played in both the Jewish and broader community. When Joyce did our PR, the JCRC was known far and wide,” he said.
Her other public relations work included service to the Miquon School and the Allens Lane Art Center. She also wrote on occasion for this newspaper, focusing on the Soviet Jewry movement, with which she was active.
A magna cum laude journalism graduate of Syracuse University, she was also involved in Phi Beta Kappa activities for many years, serving as president of the Phi Beta Kappa Association of the Delaware Valley.
A sad irony on her date of death — Valentine’s Day — is the loving and long relationship she shared with her husband, Gordon, to whom she was married for six decades.
Besides her husband, the former Joyce Stern is survived by a son, Barry; a brother, David Stern; four grandchildren; and a nephew. She was predeceased by a son, Bruce Kutler.
Contributions in her memory can be made to Germantown Jewish Centre or the Abramson Center for Jewish Life in Horsham.