2017-11-08 / Editorial

Our community has lost a giant with the passing of Harriet Kessler

Harriet Kessler, who edited the Jewish Community Voice for 24 years prior to her retirement in 2009, was a large presence in the Southern New Jersey Jewish community whose passing is a tremendous loss. She was a “journalist’s journalist,” with an unwavering desire to tell the story of the Southern New Jersey Jewish community in a manner that was both straightforward and fair. She was scrupulously accurate. She never tolerated mistakes or incomplete reporting. She was the embodiment of the newspaper business saying, “If your mother tells you she loves you, verify it.”

A native New Yorker, Harriet Kessler loved Southern New Jersey. She was devoted to the Jewish Federation, its family of agencies, the synagogues and organizations, and the people of the community. She was also devoted to the wellbeing of the Jewish community in Israel and around the world.

She believed that the pages of the Voice were the history of Southern New Jersey’s Jews. She sought to preserve that history for posterity. She wrote about everyone--the leaders, the volunteers and those who donated and participated. She wrote about Jewish life with the knowledge and passion of someone who loved the Jewish community.

She cared about her family, her friends, and her synagogue. She not only reported on Jewish life, she was an active participant. She was devoted to culture and the intellectual life of America and the Jewish people. She patronized the arts and read voraciously. She took learning seriously, attending classes after her retirement.

Harriet Kessler was a large part of the Jewish community for more than a generation. She will be missed by all who knew her. She left a mark that will endure.

May her memory be for a blessing! 

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