Selma Katz, a longtime activist on behalf of Jewish causes and concerns, died Oct. 11 at the age of 97.
A New York native and graduate of New York University, Katz moved to Melrose Park more than 55 years ago with husband Lawrence, a successful industrialist who in some quarters was known affectionately as Philadelphia’s “Licorice King” when he bought candy and pharmaceutical giant MacAndrews & Forbes.
Katz was on a first-name basis with many of the world’s leaders, whom she met when they were guests at her parents’ home, including such Jewish and Israeli legends as Golda Meir and David Ben-Gurion.
Those introductions led her to a life of activism, including major roles with Israel Bonds, serving on the board of its Women’s Division, and Hadassah.
She was instrumental in using her energy to perpetuate Jewish perspectives. A chapel at Gratz College is named for Katz and her late husband.
The Beth Sholom Congregation member was honored by many area groups for her Jewish activism.
Her areas of concern also focused on the arts; she was a 25-year president of the Mann Music Center Guild and was known for her patronage of a variety of cultural centers, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
The former Selma Green, she is survived by daughter Terry; sons Harry Jay and Phillip; seven grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.