Charlotte's Journey Home

Just a Regular Kid, Sort Of

Remembering My Father

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Today would have been my father’s 75th birthday. It is impossible to believe, even seven years after his death, that he is not with us to celebrate and be celebrated. Throughout all of Charlotte’s ordeals and her triumphs, I have been saddened by the fact that she will never know my father and that he never had the chance to know her. Philippe and I like to think that he and Philippe’s dad are somewhere watching over their granddaughter.

My father accomplished so much in his life–he was the first in his family to graduate from college, he started his own successful business which my brother continues to run, and he pursued a wide range of philanthropic and volunteer activities within the Jewish community. He once told me that of all his volunteer roles, he was most proud of what he accomplished while serving on the board and as president of the MetroWest Jewish News.

In his typically non-bragging manner, he never told me the details or extent of his work at NJJN. As I spend the day thinking about and trying to honor my father, I’d like to share with you the lovely obituaries that his colleagues at the NJ Jewish News published after his death.

10 July 13, 2000 NJJN – MetroWest July 13, 2000

Paul Goldman, advocate for pluralism and ‘NJJN,’ dies
by Rachel Nierenberg NJJN Staff Writer
Paul A. Goldman, a past president of New Jersey Jewish News and a strong supporter as the paper expanded, died on Friday, July 7. He was 68.

He was born in Roxbury, Mass., and lived in Brookline, Mass., Richmond, Va., and Livingston before he moved to West Orange, in May. Goldman was a contributor to the United Jewish Federation of MetroWest and a member of the William and Betty Lester Society, comprised of those individuals or families who make an endowment of $100,000 or more to the UJF. Because he was born into a family that did not have a great deal of money, Goldman recognized the importance of giving to others and shared his own success by contributing generously to philanthropic organizations.

Murray Laulicht, a past president of UJF MetroWest, credits Goldman with “being the first to present [the issue] of religious pluralism to our community.” In the late ’80s, explained Laulicht, Goldman introduced a resolution to the board of MetroWest federation,“bemoaning the lack of religious choice in Israel.”

As a result, Laulicht said, federation chose to grapple with the issue, eventually passing the resolution, realizing the importance of “solving these problems in our community and around the
world.” It was Goldman’s initiative, said Laulicht, that later enabled MetroWest to take on a role as a “national leader in promoting religious pluralism.”

Goldman served as president of New Jersey Jewish News for three years, from 1995 to 1998.

Recalling the “many mornings” that he spent with Goldman during his tenure as president, David Twersky, editor-in-chief of NJJN, said that Goldman “stood forcefully for the independence” of the paper. Twersky described him as “the strongest advocate for having a New Jersey Jewish News.” Indeed, it was during Goldman’s presidency that the MetroWest Jewish News — a single-edition newspaper for the MetroWest Jewish community — expanded and became the New Jersey Jewish News.

Two editions were added through arrangements with the Jewish Federation of Central New Jersey and the United Jewish Federation of Princeton Mercer Bucks; an increased readership came along
with them.

After Goldman stepped down from the presidency, Twersky said, he “never lost an opportunity…to push his agenda of a statewide Jewish newspaper.”

Amir Cohen, associate publisher of NJJN, said that Goldman’s leadership style was creative and unique; in fact, he “cannot imagine how a better job could have been done.”

Cohen recalled that in 1994, when he joined the staff, Goldman reached out to him at the first board meeting; he was the first board member to do so. That reaching out, he said, was quintessentially Paul Goldman.

“I think the word ‘mensch’ describes him,” said Michael Miller of Morristown, immediate past president of NJJN. Miller said that Goldman was “truly a leader — inspirational and a can-do person. He was charitable, cared about people and cared very much for the Jewish News and the Jewish people.”

David Mulgrum of Bed-minster, board member of NJJN, said that Goldman was a “gentleman to deal with and he will be missed.”

Goldman, a graduate of Brown University in Providence, R.I., was the founder of Paul Arnold Associates, an insurance agency in Livingston. Before establishing the firm, he worked for Markel Service, an insurance agency in Richmond, Va.

He was a member of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun, Short Hills, and a past president of the synagogue’s brotherhood. He also served as vice president and was a member of its board of trustees.

“He loved the temple and he loved music,” said Leslie Sporn of Short Hills, executive director and a past president of B’nai Jeshurun. “He loved to sing.” Goldman’s decision to donate a harp to the synagogue was indicative of the kind of person he was, said Sporn. “He did it to enrich our services…. It was meaningful to him and he knew it would give others pleasure.”

Goldman is survived by his wife, Pam of West Orange; two daughters, Laurie Cohn of Livingston and Ilene of Chicago; a son, Hal of Warren; a sister, Roberta Cohen of Wayland, Mass; and four grandchildren. The harp he had donated to the synagogue was played at Goldman’s funeral service, which was held at B’nai Jeshurun on July 9.

Editorial
Paul

Paul Goldman took over as president of MetroWest Jewish News on July 1, 1995. From the start he exhibited a calm and steady hand at the helm of the executive committee and board, leading the way to a rethinking of the paper’s relationship with the United Jewish Federation of MetroWest. It was Paul’s contention that the paper should be as open as possible to trends, thinking and controversies, and that in reporting as accurately as possible, the newspaper would be making its singular contribution to the Jewish community.

This was not as simple a project as it might now appear. There were certainly those who felt the newspaper should be more closely tied to the federation and those who thought its mission should be subsumed by the federated campaign, some arguing that the paper must therefore avoid divisive stories and opinions that might alienate potential donors.

But not Paul. He established strong working relationships with top staff and made clear his commitment to the professional nature of the newspaper. At the same time, he became closely identified with the effort to reshape Jewish newspapering in the state of New Jersey. During his tenure, and in no small measure due to his leadership, the MetroWest Jewish News evolved into the New Jersey Jewish News, reaching an agreement with the Jewish Federation of Central New Jersey to publish a weekly edition in that community and later with the United Jewish Federation of Princeton Mercer Bucks to publish an edition there.

The goal of branching out throughout the state in order to project a firm, powerful voice on behalf of Jewish interests became almost a personal mission. He was passionate about his beliefs and his commitments, including religious pluralism and liberties; took leadership roles in his beloved Congregation B’nai Jeshurun; was hardworking and responsible to a fault; loved his family above all; and was always a gentleman. May his memory be for a blessing — and may we stay committed
to his goals for the Jewish community and people.

Many, many thanks to Mollie at NJJN for dropping everything today to get this text to me electronically.

Both of the above texts are copyrighted by NJ Jewish News.

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Author: Culture Bean

I am a mother, a pre-published children's author, and a published academic. I am also a "mommy blogger," though I hate the term. My passions are reading and writing. As a professor, I strive to help my students think critically about the media and culture with which they engage. I've started this blog because it's time I put my money where my mouth is!

2 thoughts on “Remembering My Father

  1. Ilene,I once read that a daughter needs a dad who will influence her life even when he isn’t with her. It sounds as though your father did that when you moved away from home, and continues to do so now. What a wonderful, inspiring legacy.Love,Tracy

  2. from Monica Fessel-I KNOW he sees her and celebrates her the same way my mother does my own :-)LoveM

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