NAOMI CAHAN KATZ, 97, passed away on Aug. 10 in Jerusalem. Naomi was born in Philadelphia and spent the second half of her life fulfilling her potential in Jerusalem.

The eldest daughter of Morris and Lillian Cahan, Naomi grew up in the Oak Lane neighborhood of North Philadelphia. After attending Girls’ High, she went on to study at Philadelphia College of Art (now University of the Arts) and the Barnes Foundation.

Wandering the park one evening at a picnic, Naomi tripped over a man lying under a bush with his date. It was Stanley Katz. They married just a week before her 21st birthday and together they had five children—Sivia, Avi, Judith, David and Shuli— and a life of adventures, great and small.

Naomi worked as a homebound instructor for children throughout the city. Always active in Jewish life, she was actively involved from its inception with the Solomon Schechter Day School (now Perelman Jewish Day School), which would grow from 39 students in the basement of Har Zion Temple into a force for Jewish education in the region.

On Saturdays, Stan and Naomi would pack their family into the station wagon and drive to South Philadelphia for class at the Fleisher Art Memorial and a visit to the Italian Market to procure that evening’s cheese ravioli. Other days, they would pack up mayonnaise sandwiches and head to the zoo to draw the animals.

Naomi herself never stopped making art, and she explored every medium. Self-taught, she became accomplished in calligraphy, jewelry making, and pottery at the wheel. With her children, she created Taxi Cab Katz, a papier mache cocker spaniel. She once covered the dining room wall with a mural featuring a bosomy woman at a Parisian cafe, leaning on a table with a large black poodle tied to it.

After her youngest was born, she enrolled in night school at Temple University to pursue and complete her Masters in Psychology. Shortly after earning her degree, she and Stan traveled to Israel to visit their daughter in art school in Jerusalem. On that trip, they fell in love with the country and decided to make aliyah.

Two years later, with nine-year-old daughter Shuli in tow, Naomi and Stan left Philadelphia for Israel. After learning some Hebrew in an ulpan outside of Jerusalem, they joined kibbutz Ayelet Hashahar just in time to brace for the Yom Kippur War of 1973. In their decade on kibbutz, Naomi established a psychology clinic for children and families in a nearby town. With Israel’s university system in its infancy, she translated many English language psychology texts into Hebrew for publication. With Stan, she established an art studio for the kibbutz where members would pose for and paint one another. Eventually, she was given one day off of work each week devoted to art: the mark of a professional artist within the kibbutz. She and Stan were both actively involved with the programs of Save the Children in Israel.

After 10 years, Naomi and Stan eventually moved to Jerusalem where Naomi threw herself into project after project. She trained as a docent for the Israel Museum, where she gave tours for over 10 years on the fine art and archeology collections. After working as an advocate for Russian immigrants in Israel, she and Stan organized several trips of Israelis to Russia, eating caviar at the ballet, and giving lectures on collections at the Hermitage. Later, developing ties in the growing Ethiopian refugee community, she worked with artists to sell their work in Israel and America.

Even with the children grown, their home was always bustling: sometimes with gatherings of recent immigrants learning to read English from the newspapers; sometimes with grandchildren; other times with visiting members of the hospitality exchange organization Servas International. Members themselves, Stan and Naomi traveled the world, staying in the homes of families on multiple continents. On the rare occasions that she did sit still, Naomi would curl up on the couch with Stan, listening to opera and working on an acrostic puzzle.

One of her largest and longest-running efforts began in 1996 when an American friend wanted to donate her parents’ large-print books. When no library for the visually impaired would take the English language material, Naomi founded her library. Beginning as a few books in a metal closet at the Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel (AACI), it has blossomed into a full-fledged library with staff and volunteers. She continued to work there until she retired just shy of her 90th birthday. She considered herself to be very lucky and put her appreciation into her 600-page autobiography, which she began in ink and progressed to writing on the computer.

Naomi leaves behind her five children, 14 grandchildren, and 16 great-grandchildren. Donations would be appreciated at the Cohen Library for the Visually Impaired and Homebound, of the Americans and Canadians In Israel (AACI), Jerusalem, Israel.

MARVIN SEROTA, of Mt. Laurel, passed away on Sept. 15. Partner of Nancy Horowitz. Father of Jodi (Darren) Kearns and the late Lori Boni. Contributions can be made to Congregation Beth Tikvah, Marlton, NJ, PLATT MEMORIAL CHAPELS, Inc.

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