Jacques Fein, beloved husband, father and grandfather, died peacefully on May 11, 2017 at Gilchrist Hospice Care in Howard County, Maryland after suffering a stroke at the age of 78. Jacques is survived by his wife, Judee Iliff, his sister, Annette Fein and his children and their spouses: Rachel (Lee) Burrows, Matt (Kelly) Fein and Laura (David) Alima. Jacques was a Pipa, Grandpa, and Grand Pere to his five grandchildren who were incredibly special to him — Sam and Zach Burrows, Adrienne Fein, and Maggie and Max Alima.
Jacques was born in Paris, France, in 1938 and led a remarkable life. Jacques often spoke of having “five families” — something that truly shaped who he was. Family one: His birth parents, Szmul and Rojsa Karpik, a Jewish couple originally from Poland who immigrated to France in the hopes of staying safe during World War II. As the Nazi threat grew, the Karpiks had the courage to send their two young children, Jacques (age 3-and-a-half) and Annette (age 1-and-a-half) into hiding. Family two: The Catholic family who hid Jacques and his sister during the war for close to three years, keeping them safe, healthy and alive. During this time, Jacques’ parents were murdered at Auschwitz concentration camp. Family three: After the war, Jacques and his sister were placed in two OSE orphanages (in Brittany and outside of Paris) with many other children who survived the war. Jacques remembers this as a happy time, free from the threat of Nazi soldiers. Family four: Rose and Harry Fein, the Jewish couple who adopted Jacques and Annette in 1948 and brought them to New Jersey, raising them as “regular” American kids. Jacques arrived at Ellis Island when he was 10, not knowing any English, but quickly acclimated to his new home, family and country. Family five: Jacques had two children, Rachel and Matthew, from his first marriage, and settled in Columbia, Md., in 1970. Jacques remarried in 1986 to Judee Iliff, welcoming to his life her daughter Laura.
Jacques attended Clark University, followed by Johns Hopkins University for graduate studies in Computer Sciences. Jacques joined CSC (Computer Sciences Corporation) in the early 1970s, where he worked on many projects, including the Space Program, for more than 35 years. Jacques and Judee were very active in the Jewish community and loved living in Howard County. In 2014, Jacques retired, allowing him to spend more time with his grandchildren and volunteering for numerous organizations.
Jacques dedicated his adult life to “payback” — which was his phrase for giving back to the community — as a way to repay the kindness of all the people who saved him and his sister during and after the War. Jacques’ community activities and accomplishments were plentiful. Just to name a few: He served as a past president of the Jewish Federation of Howard County, was a founder of the World Federation of Jewish Holocaust Child Survivors, was a weekly volunteer at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, frequently spoke to groups and children at schools about his Holocaust experience and was co-president/treasurer of OSE-USA. In 2011, Jacques was honored as Howard County Volunteer of the Year.
In honor of Jacques’ remarkable commitment to helping others, in lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in his name to one of the following organizations: Friends and Alumni of OSE-USA, c/o Norbert Bikales, 3408 Pointe Gate Drive, Livingston, NJ 07039 ose-france.org, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, 100 Raoul Wallenberg Place SW, Washington, D.C. 20024-2126 ushmm.org or Jewish Federation of Howard County, 10630 Little Patuxent Parkway, Suite 400, Columbia, MD 21044 jewishhowardcounty.org.
Special thank you to Gilchrist Hospice Care of Howard County, who treated Jacques and his family with kindness, respect, and dignity throughout this difficult process.
Don Peretz, Middle East scholar, veteran, activist, dies at 94
Don Peretz, a leading scholar on the Arab-Israel conflict and Palestinian refugees at SUNY Binghamton, died on April 29 in Mitchellville. He was 94.
Peretz retired as professor emeritus from SUNY Binghamton in 1992. He started his teaching career there in 1966. He was the director of the Southwest Asia North Africa Program and the author of “Israel and the Palestinian Refugees,” an academic study of the 1948 Palestinian refugees. He authored 11 other books and more than 300 articles for various journals.
Peretz was a fellow at the United States Institute of Peace and a contributor to the Middle East Institute. He graduated from the University of Minnesota, and received his doctorate from Columbia University. He was awarded a Ford Foundation grant to study the Arab refugee problem from 1952 to 1954.
Peretz studied Japanese at the University of Minnesota and served with the Army as a Japanese interpreter for a naval medical unit in Okinawa, mostly treating civilians. “Thousands of them [Okinawans] were wounded during the American invasion,”
Peretz recounted. “Many of them had hidden in caves, and to get them out, the U.S. Army used white phosphorous bombs.” The experience, he said, “only reinforced my opposition to the war and the impact that it had on noncombatants.” He was discharged after the Japanese surrender in 1945.
In 1949, Peretz applied to work with the American Friends Service Committee (Quakers), which the United Nations selected to provide relief to the Palestinian refugees. He became head of relief work in the city of Acre and western Galilee. Peretz recounted that “some people in the Jewish community said, ‘How can a Jew be working for the Arabs like that?’ He responded, “There had to be accommodation between Jews and Arabs — especially within the borders, if there was ever to be peace.”
In the 1950s, Peretz accompanied American Socialist leader Norman Thomas on a Mideast tour to visit socialist party leaders throughout the region, with Peretz providing counsel on Jewish affairs. They met Arab leaders, including Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nassar.
Peretz was born in 1922 in Baltimore to Haim Peretz and Josephine Lasser Peretz.
He is survived by his wife of 38 years, Maya Peretz, his daughter Debbie Peretz (Marcus Brandt), and sons Jonathan Chance and Ervin Peretz (Pauline Cooper), grandson Jonah and cousins Edith and Hanan Schaham.
Donations can be sent to the New Israel Fund or American Friends Service Committee.
Janis Orleans Brown
Janis Orleans Brown, of Scottsdale, Ariz., died on May 1. She was 72 years old.
Born in Gainesville, Texas, she was raised in Silver Spring. She graduated from Montgomery Blair High School. She received her bachelor of science degree in nursing from the University of Maryland.
She held both clinical and administrative nursing positions during her career.
Brown moved to Arizona in 1975, where her life focused on her daughters, granddaughters and many close friendships. She was an enthusiastic athlete whose activities included playing tennis, running and hiking. She particularly enjoyed being outdoors and the Arizona lifestyle, relishing each day as if she was on vacation.
Survivors include her devoted and loving husband of 50 years, Terry, of Scottsdale; daughters Jennifer (Mark) Vandroff of Bethesda and Lauren (Larry) Dee of Scottsdale; granddaughters Lily and Lainie Dee, and Vivian Vandroff; and brother Ronald Orleans of Bethesda. Contributions may be made to the Jewish Genetic Diseases Center of Greater Phoenix, the Jewish Free Loan Association, or the Face In the Mirror Foundation. n
Annette Cooper, of Silver Spring, died from complications of meningitis on April 24. She was 86 years old.
Daughter of Archie and Ida (Brooks) Alterman, she attended Tilden High School in Brooklyn. She worked as a dental hygienist in Brooklyn and sold products for the beauty company Avon in Wethersfield, Conn.
She was involved in the Jewish Residents of Leisure World and Red Hatters of Leisure World.
She was the widow of Israel Robert Cooper.
She is survived by a son, Andrew (Debra) Cooper; grandchildren Cole, Jared, Dean and Grant Cooper; stepson, Joel Cooper, and step-grandson, Justin Cooper. n
Arthur S. Herman
Arthur S. Herman, of Potomac, died on May 13.
He was the former husband of Shelby Herman; devoted father of Dorothy (Sean) Herman; loving brother of Ernest Herman; and cherished grandfather of Sophia Brandt.
Herman was a graduate of the City College of New York City. He received his master’s degree from Columbia University.
Herman worked for Bureau of Labor Statistics for more than 35 years. Upon retirement, he worked in the office of Rep. Elliott Engel (D-N.Y.). Arrangements by Sagel Bloomfield Danzansky Goldberg Funeral Care. n
David Hirschberg, 83, of Potomac, died May 8, surrounded by his loved ones.
He was predeceased by his devoted wife, Ronnie. He was the loving father of Amy, Stacy and son-in-law Steve Gussen, and loving brother of Trudi Weinstein.
He served for more than 40 years as a government economist at the Small Business Administration, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Social Security Administration.
He authored “The Job-Generation Controversy, The Economic Myth of Small Business,” originally published in 1999, which exposed the fallacy of the role that small businesses play in job creation. He will be remembered for his loving kindness, generosity and devotion to his family. Arrangements by Sagel Bloomfield Danzansky Goldberg Funeral Care. n
Miriam Ostrow, 92, of Bethesda, died May 6.
Born in Cleveland to Rose and Harry Brown, she grew up in Washington, graduated from Wilson High School and lived in Silver Spring.
She attended Beaver College in Glenside, Pa., worked for a food broker for many years and, after marrying her high school sweetheart, Bernard Ostrow in 1945, worked while he attended medical school. The couple recently celebrated their 71st wedding anniversary.
She took many continuing education courses at American University. She was active in the League of Women Voters and was a longtime member of the Washington Hebrew Congregation, having been confirmed and married there.
Ostrow is predeceased by her sister, Janet Cohen. In addition to her husband, survivors include two daughters, Karen (Scott) Stempel of Potomac and Joanne Ostrow (Liz Shane) of Denver, and three grandchildren, Alison Stempel McCanon (Neil McCanon), Andrea Stempel and Anna Ostrow. Arrangements by Sagel Bloomfield Danzansky Goldberg Funeral Care. n
Richard Schaengold, of Washington, died on May 5. He was 90 years old.
Born in Hamilton, Ohio, he graduated from the University of Cincinnati and University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. A World War II Navy veteran, he was a devoted practitioner of psychiatry for nearly 60 years.
He was the beloved husband of Marylin for 62 years; cherished father of Michael (Carol) Schaengold and Howard (Teri) Schaengold; loving grandfather of Andrew, Matthew, Samuel and Sarah; devoted brother of Melvin Schaengold and the late Aileen Wolf. Arrangements by Sagel Bloomfield Danzansky Goldberg Funeral Care. n
Ruth Gruenberg, sociology professor, dies at 94
Ruth Gruenberg, a longtime sociology professor at Montgomery College-Rockville, died May 5 at 94. She had dementia.
Born Oct. 31, 1922 in Romania, Gruenberg came to the United States with her parents, Jews who fled the Russian civil war and pogroms, when she was a year old. A longtime resident of Chicago before moving to Washington, she received a master’s degree in education from the University of Chicago. She married Robert Gruenberg, who became a noted correspondent for The Chicago Daily News, in 1942. They were married for 50 years and had two sons. He later died.
Gruenberg taught sociology for several years at Herzl Junior College before leaving to raise a family. The Gruenbergs moved to Washington in 1961, and some years later she resumed teaching sociology at Montgomery College. She taught there for several decades and was noted for developing a course in advanced field work, placing students with social service agencies to give them practical experience and having them analyze their service. The program inspired many of her students to continue in social service.
In retirement, Gruenberg was active in the League of Women Voters of Montgomery County, which had her give lectures on a variety of topics. She also was active in community events, book clubs at the Rock Creek Woods community and with Temple Sinai.
Survivors include her sons, Mark Gruenberg of Washington and Jeremy Gruenberg of Silver Spring; four nephews and nieces, Larry Schwartz of Bethesda, Lisa Zebovitz of Deerfield, Ill., Linda Gruenberg of Wilmette, Ill., and Myron Gruenberg of Northbrook, Ill.; and several great-nieces and great-nephews. Contributions in her memory may be made to the Robert and Ruth Gruenberg Memorial Scholarship at Montgomery College-Rockville or to the charity of your choice. Arrangements by Hines-Rinaldi Funeral Home.
Anita Lee Blum Cohen, teacher, dies at 69
Anita Lee Blum Cohen, of Potomac, died of cancer on May 1. She was 69 years old.
She was born on July 7, 1947, and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y. The only child of Sophie and Morris Blum, she graduated from Wingate High School in 1965 and Brooklyn College in 1969. After moving to Northern Virginia, she received a master’s degree in education from George Mason University. She was an early education specialist, teaching children from ages pre-kindergarten through second grade, primarily in the Arlington County school system. She also briefly ran her own business, a day care center, out of her home in Springfield.
She also was a talented seamstress and cook, a lover of music and movies and a grammar and spelling aficionado. She also devoted much of her free time to participating in fundraisers for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
She was a longtime member of Congregation Beth Sholom of Potomac.
In 1981, she was in a nighttime single-car accident at a shopping mall, during which her jaw and kneecap were broken. In the aftermath, she was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease that eventually left her blind. She and her husband, Frank, moved to Maryland, and she worked for many years as an administrative assistant for Hillel of Greater Washington. She subsequently learned to read Braille and started a Low Vision Support Group at the Bender Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington. She also counseled people through a suicide hotline.
During her lifetime, she suffered from multiple forms of cancer, including thyroid cancer in her younger years, localized breast cancer, and, finally, uterine cancer that spread to her lungs.
She had two guide dogs over the past 18 years, Hyra and Valentina.
Survivors include her husband of 32 years, Franklyn Terry Cohen of Potomac; children Charles Andrew “Chuck” (Amy) Fox of Atlanta, Ga., and Michelle Erin Fox (Barton) Day of Damascus; and grandchildren Elianna Ruth Day, Sophia Rose Day, Sydney Bess Fox and Benjamin Stephen Fox.
Donations can be made in her memory to Guide Dogs for the Blind, P.O. Box 151200, San Rafael, CA 94915-1200.
Chicago couple married 69 years die moments apart
A Chicago Jewish couple married for 69 years died moments apart in the same hospital room while holding hands.
Teresa Vatkin, 89, died at 12:10 a.m. April 22 at Highland Park Hospital. Her husband, Isaac, 91, died at approximately 12:50 a.m. as they wheeled his wife from the room and their hands separated, according to local reports.
Teresa Vatkin had been suffering from dementia for the past decade. Isaac was her caregiver, staying by her side even when she entered a memory care facility.
“The moment he felt we removed her hand from his, he was able to say ‘OK, I’m done protecting her. I can go and rest as well,’” their son, Daniel, told the Chicago Sun-Times. “The ultimate in chivalry — so he could go to heaven and open the door for her.”
“I saw it with my own eyes,” their daughter, Clara Gesklin, told the newspaper. “All of a sudden, when their fingers separated, he just stopped breathing.”
Isaac Vatkin had been admitted to the hospital with influenza and his wife with pneumonia. They were moved to the same room on April 21, when both were breathing shallowly and were unresponsive.
The couple grew up in Argentina, on opposite ends of the country, and wrote love letters to each other three times a week until they married in 1947. Isaac, known as Alberto in Argentina to avoid anti-Semitism, was a leathermaker.
The Vatkins moved to Chicago in 1968, where Isaac worked as a kosher butcher and invested in apartments. n
—JTA News and Features
Anita Lee Blum Cohen
Cohen, of Potomac, died on May 1. She was 69 years old.
Anita Lee Blum Cohen was born on July 7, 1947 and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y. She was the loving and devoted only child of Sophie and Morris Blum. She graduated from Wingate High School in 1965 and Brooklyn College in 1969. After moving to Northern Virginia, she later received a master’s degree in education from George Mason University. She was an early education specialist, teaching children from ages pre-kindergarten through second grade, primarily in the Arlington County school system. She also briefly ran her own business, a day care center out of her own home in Springfield, Va. Cohen was a talented seamstress and cook, a lover of music and movies, and a grammar and spelling aficionado. She also devoted much of her free time participating in fundraisers for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
In Dec. 1981, Cohen was in a single car accident at nighttime at a shopping mall, during which she broke her jaw and her kneecap. The aftermath led to her ultimately being diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease that eventually left her totally blind. Despite her condition, she and her husband Frank moved to Maryland, and Cohen began the first of many years working as an administrative assistant for Hillel of Greater Washington. Cohen subsequently learned to read braille, started a Low Vision Support Group housed at the Bender Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington, and performed free phone counseling through a suicide hotline.
Cohen suffered from multiple forms of cancer during her lifetime, including thyroid cancer in her younger years, localized breast cancer, and, finally, uterine cancer metastatic to her lungs. She is survived by her loving and devoted husband of 32 years, Franklyn Terry Cohen of Potomac. She is also survived by her four children and four grandchildren Michelle Erin Fox Day and Barton Edward Day of Damascus; Charles Andrew “Chuck” Fox and Amy Pamela Goldenberg Fox of Atlanta, Ga.; Elianna Ruth Day, Sophia Rose Day, Sydney Bess Fox, and Benjamin Stephen Fox. Cohen was also the loving owner of two guide dogs over the past 18 year, Hyra and Valentina.
She cherished all of her dear friends from throughout the Beth Sholom Potomac community, as well as those who are spread all across the country and in Israel.
Anita is a long-standing member of Congregation Beth Sholom of Potomac. Donations can be made in her memory to: Guide Dogs for the Blind, P.O. Box 151200, San Rafael, CA 94915-1200.
Trish Vradenburg, journalist, TV writer and Alzheimer’s advocate, 70
Trish Vradenburg, of Washington, died on April 17. She was 70.
Vradenburg began her career as a speechwriter in the U.S. Senate. She wrote for various television shows, including “Designing Women,” “Family Ties” and “Kate and Allie.” Her novel, “Liberated Lady,” was chosen as Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club selections and has been translated into three foreign languages.
As a journalist, Vradenburg wrote extensively for The New York Daily News, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Ladies’ Home Journal and Women’s Day.
“Surviving Grace,” Vradenburg’s quasi-autobiographical play about a sitcom writer and her mom battling Alzheimer’s disease together, was produced at The Kennedy Center in Washington, and Off Broadway at the Union Square Theater. It is now being performed at community theaters throughout the country, as well as in Brazil.
She is survived by her adoring husband George; daughter, Alissa Vradenburg, and son-in-law, Michael Sheresky, of Los Angeles.; son, Tyler Vradenburg, and daughter-in-law, Jeannine Cacioppe Vradenburg, of Chicago; grandchildren Harrison Sheresky, Skyler Sheresky, May Vradenburg and Gavin Vradenburg; and her brother, Rabbi Michael Lerner, and sister-in-law, Cat Zavis, of Berkeley, Calif. She was preceded in death by her father, Judge Joseph H. Lerner, and mother, Bea Lerner.
Ruth Sulzberger Holmberg, Tennessee newspaper publisher
Ruth Sulzberger Holmberg, a newspaper publisher and civil rights activist in Tennessee, has died at 96.
Holmberg, a member of the family that controls The New York Times, challenged racial barriers, political skulduggery and environmental adversaries as publisher of The Chattanooga Times for nearly three decades, the newspaper reported April 20. She died in Chattanooga.
Growing up in a newspaper family in New York, Holmberg led the Chattanooga daily to become known for aggressive, analytical reporting and editorials that denounced racial segregation, exposed government corruption and demanded cleaner air in a city of heavy industry, according to the Times.
For years she was a pariah in a city where many regarded her as an Eastern liberal interloper, also because she was Jewish, according to the article.
Holmberg served as publisher of The Chattanooga Times from 1964 to 1992, then stayed on as publisher emeritus and chairwoman until 1999, when it was sold to a small chain and merged with a rival newspaper.
She was a granddaughter of Adolph Ochs, who bought The Chattanooga Times in 1878 and The New York Times in 1896, and the second of four children of Iphigene Ochs and Arthur Hays Sulzberger, the publisher of The New York Times from 1935 to 1961.
Her brother, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, who died in 2012, became publisher of The New York Times and chairman and chief executive of the Times Company. One sister, Marian Sulzberger Heiskell, became a New York civic and philanthropic leader.
Another, Judith Sulzberger, who died in 2011, became a doctor affiliated with the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University.
A Red Cross volunteer in England and France during World War II, she had four children with her first husband, Ben Hale Golden, before they were divorced in 1965. She replaced her husband as publisher of The Chattanooga Times in 1964.
The Chattanooga Times championed the racial integration of schools and universities, supported civil rights legislation in Congress and backed clean-air laws, provoking anger in a city where industrial pollutants shrouded scenic mountain backdrops and whose air, according to a 1969 federal report, was the dirtiest in the nation.
The Times also endorsed reforms to root out corruption in government, expand the voting franchise and give black residents, a third of the population, a larger voice in municipal affairs.
In 1972, she married Albert William Holmberg Jr., who oversaw the production, advertising and circulation departments at the paper. He was later named its president.
In 1987 she became the second woman, after Katharine Graham, the longtime publisher of The Washington Post, to be elected a director of The Associated Press, the dominant news service in the United States.
—JTA News and Features