Community Briefs: Zelda Edelson Dies, JRA Event

Zelda Edelson. Courtesy of the Edelson family

Artist Zelda Edelson Dies at 92

Zelda Edelson, an editor at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History for 20 years who took up painting later in life, died Nov. 12. She was 92.
Edelson was featured in the Jewish Exponent in 2018 shortly after her solo exhibition “Color in the Moment” debuted at the Old City Jewish Art Center.
“It’s really meaningful,” Edelson said. “It gave me a view of my paintings that I never experienced before, simply because you don’t have enough space to show stuff in most places.”
A native of Philadelphia, Edelson’s love of art dated to her high school days, when she took a course from prominent experimental artist Jack Bookbinder.
Edelson forged a career, first as an editor at Discovery magazine, then as the editor and head of print publications at the Yale museum, forgoing serious painting until her 1995 retirement.
“I wanted to do something that was my own thing,” she said.
“Caliph’s Palace” by Zelda Edelson

When her husband Marshall Edelson, a professor of psychiatry at Yale, died in 2005, she returned to Philadelphia and continued to paint, influenced by artists such as Paul Klee and Jackson Pollock.

“I feel a lot of influences, not necessarily those names,” she said. “Painting is not just what comes out of your hand or arm, it’s what’s in your brain, and that’s the ultimate decisive part of the experience of painting.”
In 2018, she published “Zelda Edelson – Painter,” a book of her paintings and poetry.
She is survived by sons Jon Edelson and Dave Tolchinsky; daughter Bec Edelson; sister Charlotte Thurschwell; and six grandchildren.
JRA to Host Virtual Event to End Hunger
The Jewish Relief Agency will host its second virtual Annual Event to End Hunger: Growing Needs, Glowing Deeds on Dec. 5 at 6 p.m.
The program will illuminate the stories of three volunteer families while underscoring the growing needs of area families struggling with food insecurity.
Jewish Relief Agency volunteers prepare food for delivery. Courtesy of the Jewish Relief Agency

“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, JRA has seen an unprecedented increase in families requesting food assistance, many for the first time,” said Jodi Roth-Saks, JRA’s executive director.

Before the pandemic, 1,000 volunteers would come to JRA’s warehouse in Northeast Philadelphia on one Sunday each month to pack and deliver food. When social distancing recommendations were put in place, JRA modified its program model to limit the risk of exposure for both clients and volunteers. The organization developed a drive-thru pickup model for food pantries across the state.
JRA continues to operate with the community’s health and safety in mind and has increased its offerings by delivering more food per box and supplying critical household items like soap, toilet paper and face masks.
The public can watch the event, which will stream live, by visiting


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