Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Fast Forward

Shoshana Cardin, Trailblazing Federation Leader And Philanthropist, Dies At 91

(JTA) — Shoshana Cardin, a Baltimore philanthropist who was the first woman to chair her city’s Jewish federation, the national umbrella body of the Jewish federation movement and the powerful Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, has died.

Cardin, who was in failing health in recent years, was 91.

Known for her intellect and leadership capabilities, she was from 1988 to 1992 chairwoman of the National Conference of Soviet Jewry, during a time when the priorities of the Soviet Jewry movement shifted from campaigns to free Soviet Jews to efforts to help resettle them in Israel.

Prior to that she was president of the Council of Jewish Federations, the representative body of 200 community federations in the United States and Canada.

Cardin also gained prominence in the autumn of 1988 for spearheading opposition to efforts in the Israeli Knesset to amend the Law of Return.

The so-called “Who Is a Jew” amendment, which would have denied Israeli citizenship to immigrants whose conversion to Judaism did not meet Orthodox standards, was ultimately withdrawn in the face of overwhelming pressure from American Jews.

Born Shoshana Shoubin to Latvian parents in what was then British-controlled Palestine, Cardin arrived at age 2 in Baltimore, where she later became active in local Jewish affairs.

One of her first major leadership roles in the Jewish community was as president of the Federation of Jewish Women’s Organizations of Maryland from 1965 to 1967.

Engage

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.