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Cis B. Golder, a 'Legacy to All Who Knew Her,' Dies at 75

June 8, 2006 By:
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Cis B. Golder
Cis B. Golder, 75, of Philadelphia, died on May 25 at her home in Philadelphia after a long battle with breast cancer - a battle she waged by raising funds to fight the disease. She was a leader and fundraiser in both local and national Jewish organizations.

Born Cynthia Berger, Golder grew up in Feltonville, and graduated from Olney High School. She met her husband on a double date when they were both in their teens and she was dating his friend.

"I fell in love with her the first time I saw her," said Robert Golder. "Six months later, we were dating, went steady, got engaged, and were married when we were both 21."

Golder died on the couple's 54th wedding anniversary.

"Theirs was an old-fashioned love affair," said the couple's only child, Ellyn Golder Saft. "After more than half a century, my parents were more in love than most newlyweds, an inspiration to my husband Steve and me, our children Lauren and Jonathan, and everyone who knows them. Theirs was a true partnership."

One aspect of that partnership was their tireless work as volunteers for the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, and other organizations.

"We were a team," said Robert Golder, a past chair of what is now the Jewish Community Fund, Federation's annual campaign. "She was a sensational fundraiser who literally raised millions of dollars. She was a leader and mentor who taught by example, and was a good mediator who could get people with opposing ideas to march down the same road."

To Ande Adelman, Federation senior vice president of financial resource development and a longtime friend, "Cis was a true role model to all our current leaders - a teacher who taught us to raise funds, love and respect each other and be responsible for our Jewish world. She will be missed by all who worked with her and loved her."

Golder was a member of Federation's Board of Trustees, Women's Philanthropy and the Federation Endowments Corporation. She developed Women's Philanthropy's Lion of Judah level gifts and "LOJE," endowed gifts, in every top leadership category. She frequently attended national meetings and conferences, and participated in six Presidents' Missions to Israel, meeting every Prime Minister of the era.

Golder was told by her daughter, shortly before she died, that she would receive the national Women's Philanthropy's Kipnis-Wilson/Friedland Award for being a woman who "embodies the spirit and vision of Lion of Judah through a commitment to tzedakah and tikkun olam, at the International Lion of Judah Conference in Washington, D.C., this fall.

During Golder's tenure as chair of Philadelphia Israel Bonds Women's Division, the group was named the premier Women's Division in the country. She went on to become a national vice chair. Additionally, she served as a board member and vice president of the Philadelphia chapter of Hadassah, and on the Philadelphia Board of the American Israel Political Action Committee. A member of Congregation Beth Sholom in Elkins Park, Golder was a Sisterhood vice president.

She became involved with Living Beyond Breast Cancer, and in 2000 served as its gala chair. The following year, Golder was named honoree at the organization's gala.

"In all that she did, my mother's beauty and grace were constant threads through every aspect of her life," said Saft. "She was the quintessential wife, mother, and grandmother, and was well-known for her impeccable sense of style and as a hostess extraordinaire. Her cooking was renowned, everything from fine cuisine to Jewish traditional to scrumptious baking.

"She and my father loved to travel, and eat in all the best spots," she continued. "My mother really believed in living life, and 'doing it while you can.' She had a great time wherever she went, whatever she did and truly had no regrets, an important legacy to all who knew her."

Golder is also survived by her brother, Marvin E. Berger.

Contributions in her memory can be made to: the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, 2100 Arch St., Philadelphia, PA 19103, or to the group: Living Beyond Breast Cancer, 10 E. Athens Ave., Suite 204, Ardmore, PA 19003.

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