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The Philadelphia Jewish Voice
November 2005 > Community

David Cohen, 90: Political Role Model

I was fortunate to meet Philadelphia Councilman David Cohen a few times over the years, very briefly. I last saw him some months ago when a young woman helped him across the street to City Hall. As most of you are no doubt aware, he died in October at the age of 90.

He was more than a politician, of course. He was a role model for all politicians. For those who are cynical about politics, we can be reassured by Councilman Cohenís involvement that there have been good people in politics. If more political figures followed his example, this would be a much better world.

For more about David Cohen and his legacy, see the article by Bryan Schwartzman in the Jewish Exponent.

Molly Yard, 93: A Feminist and a Mensch

Molly Yard is probably best known for serving as the president of the National Organization for Women from 1987 to 1991. She was 93 at the time of her death on Sept. 21 at a nursing home in Pittsburgh.

Her parents were Methodist missionaries and her first venture into social activism was to help her Jewish classmates at Swarthmore College, from which she graduated in 1933 with a bachelorís degree in political science.

In a brief reference to her Swarthmore years, The New York Times obituary reported that when she joined a sorority at Swarthmore she was aghast to learn that Jewish women were barred from membership. She then campaigned, successfully, to eliminate all sororities on campus.

Highlights as an activist were her friendship with Eleanor Roosevelt, her participation in the unsuccessful campaign of Rep. Helen Gahagan Douglas for the Senate against Richard Nixon when she lived near San Francisco and her efforts in the civil rights movement which included being a local organizer for the March on Washington in 1963.

- Bruce Ticker