[by Phyllis Shaikun]
The Louisville Jewish community and the community at large lost a great leader with the passing of Fanny Rose Rosenbaum, who died at her residence on Wednesday, December 19, at age 92. Fanny Rose, as she was known by virtually every one who ever knew her, never sought the limelight. However, her people skills and natural leadership skills made her a trailblazer throughout her life.
In describing her achievements when she was chosen as one of five Women of Distinction in 1997, she admitted she “broke some barriers, albeit inadvertently, to women’s effectiveness and leadership in roles traditionally reserved for men.”
In the Jewish community, Fanny Rose was a tireless worker for the United Jewish Campaign – and people looked to her for her leadership. She chaired the local Women’s Division of the UJA Campaign, and later served on the National Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds Women’s Committee and as vice chairman of National Women’s Division. A highly respected speaker for the UJA locally and nationally, she was the first Louisvillian to be invited to participate in a UJA Women’s Mission to Israel. She believed tzedakah is a personal obligation, a mitzvah you must do for yourself.
Fanny Rose served as the first president of newly formed Jewish Community Federation of Louisville in 1972 and became the first woman to head the organized local Jewish community. She instituted a number of changes including the publishing of the Community newspaper, the development of closer relations among the Federation-supported agencies and a cohesive community approach to planning.
Over the years, she also served as president of the Louisville Chapter of Brandeis University Women’s Committee, president of The Women of Reform Judaism at The Temple for two terms, president of the Jewish Public Forum, vice-president of the National Council of Jewish Women, Louisville Section, and co-chairperson of Jewish Hospital’s Expansion Fund.
In the greater community, she served as vice president of Metro United Way (1975) and as Commissioner of Kentucky Commission on Human Rights (1966-1969 and 1970-1975). She also served on the boards of many organizations including the American Red Cross and the Louisville Chapter’s Executive Committee, the Bellarmine-Ursuline Trustees (where she was the first Jew named to the board), the Louisville Conference of Christians and Jews, Jewish Hospital, the Louisville Urban League, the Kentucky Geriatric Foundation, the American Jewish Committee, the Women’s Auxiliary of the Louisville General Hospital and The Temple’s Board of Trustees. She also devoted her time as a reader and monitor for the blind and was an amateur pilot.
She received many awards in her lifetime but notably the Center for Women & Families Women of Distinction Award (1997), the Ottenheimer Award, the Hannah Solomon Award from NCJW, Louisville Section, and she was the first woman to receive the B’nai B’rith Man of the Year Award. She also was honored as a life member of the Jewish Community Federation’s Board of Directors.
She was preceded by her husband, Dr. Irvin S. Rosenbaum, who also was active in the Jewish community and was the first physician to chair the local United Jewish Campaign.
Fanny Rose is survived by her daughters, Barbara Katz (Dr. Bernard) and Diane Rosenbaum, both of Boston, MA; her son, Richard Rosenbaum (Janet); six grandchildren, Dr. Matthew Katz, Emily Williamson, Dr. David Rosenbaum, Stacy Rosenbaum, Michael Miller and Tony Miller; long-time special friends, Bobbie and Warren Armes; and dear friends, Faye Schiefferle and Maye Young.
A memorial service will take place at a later date. The family will be having visitation Friday, December 21, after 1 p.m. at the residence of her son, Richard, located in Cardinal Club Estates. Because Fanny Rose had so many interests in her community, the family has requested expressions of sympathy go to the organizations with which she was active during her life. Herman Meyer & Son is in charge of arrangements.