Edward H. Rosen, Communal Giant, Dies at 87

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Edward H. Rosen's commitment to Jewish life was evident throughout the community. 

Edward H. Rosen, a towering figure in the Philadelphia Jewish community whose commitment to Israel and Jewish education manifested the passions of a leader long committed to securing the future for Jewish generations to come, died Oct. 1.

The Bryn Mawr resident, retired president of the former Raymond Rosen & Co., Inc.,  was 87.

Rosen’s role as a three-term president from 1981 to 1984 of what is now the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, was marked by major accomplishments and the innovative spirit he brought to all his endeavors. His work on the Federation’s Pilot Cities Program, which worked to streamline the agency’s organization, and his shepherding of the Federation’s first Jewish population study, were key projects that helped reshape the Federation at the time.

He also headed up  allocations and planning at Federation prior to his induction as president in 1981, and chaired the agency’s Task Force on Refugee Resettlement. He served as co-chair of Federation’s 1985 campaign.

He himself cited his visit to Poland and Israel during a Federation mission as transformative, convincing him to take on leadership roles when he returned home.

Perhaps one of his proudest moments was the 2009 dedication of the $8 million, 10,500 square foot Edward H. Rosen Hillel Center for Jewish Life, run by Hillel of Greater Philadelphia, on Temple University’s campus.

Among other leadership posts he held throughout his multifaceted life, the Yale University graduate and member of Congregation Rodeph Shalom, was a member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1982, becoming the  first local leader chosen for the council. He also served as vice president of the regional United Way; president of the Golden Slipper Club and what was then the Jewish Ys and Centers of Greater Philadelphia, which he also served as a board member.

Rosen was a past  president and board chairman of the Philadelphia Chapter of American Jewish Committee; commissioner of the Philadelphia Council of the Boy Scouts of America; and served as a board member of the Pennsylvania Foundation for Independent Colleges. His other communal work of note included being a board member of Akiba Hebrew Academy, which is now the Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy.

He is survived by his wife, the former Dr. Evelyn Bodek; five daughters, Liz Rosen-Ducat, Lesley Hirsh, Jillian Herschkowitz, Elizabeth Murdoch and Alexandra Seres; two sons, Scott R. Isdaner and Tom Rosen; 19 grandchildren and a great- grandchild.

Funeral services will be held this Friday, 10 a.m., at Joseph Levine and Sons Memorial Chapel in Trevose.

Contributions in his memory should be made to the Edward H. Rosen Center for Jewish Life, 1441 Norris St., Philadelphia PA 19121.

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