A beloved and influential figure in Frederick’s Jewish community for nearly six decades, Rebbetzin Carol Ruth Kosman (nee Weiss) passed away on Apr. 7. She was 89.
A veteran Jewish educator, Rebbetzin Kosman, who grew up in Duquesne, Pa., was the wife of Rabbi Morris Kosman. Rabbi Kosman served as spiritual leader of Frederick’s Beth Sholom Synagogue from 1961 until January of 2010, when he became the congregation’s rabbi emeritus. Rabbi Kosman passed away in October of 2016 on his 89th birthday.
For decades, the Kosmans served as the gracious and cordial patriarch and matriarch of Frederick’s small Jewish community, providing a warm and welcoming home for their congregants and others in the area. When initially arriving, they found a tiny, largely unaffiliated congregational community in Frederick that had not employed a long-term rabbi for decades and was not affiliated with a particular movement.
In a friendly, non-judgmental manner, the Kosmans, who were Orthodox, brought the joy of Yiddishkeit into the lives of their congregants and built up the synagogue and community over the decades.
In an interview with the Frederick News-Post in 1999, Rabbi Kosman summarized his approach to kiruv, or Jewish outreach, and education, mirroring that of his wife’s philosophy.
“I had to make people see how beautiful it is,” said the Detroit-born rabbi. “[Judaism is] a non-stop spiritual experience. Every time you open the book, you feel like your intellect is touching the divine. … The real experience is when you make someone else see that.”
Rebbetzin Kosman taught in the synagogue’s religious school for decades and served as president of Beth Sholom’s sisterhood. She also worked closely with many women in the congregation to help create stronger Jewish households and religious lives for their children.
In addition, Rebbetzin Kosman was a founder of Camp Shoresh, a summer day camp and year-round Jewish educational experience, in the Frederick County community of Adamstown.
In a Facebook post, Rabbi Dave Finkelstein, director of Camp Shoresh, wrote that he was heartbroken about the rebbetzin’s passing and that she “stood side-by-side with her husband, Rabbi Kosman …. in leading the Frederick community for over 50 years. She was a woman of grace and culture and while she was understated at times, she was a true powerhouse. She hated the limelight but deserved total respect. She taught so many families about the beauty of Judaism with unsurpassed energy, love and devotion.”
A Baltimore native who lives in Los Angeles, Etan Goldman, also known the Jewish rapper Etan G, wrote of the rebbetzin on Facebook, “She and Rabbi Kosman were an amazing tag team and a role model for what couples should and could be. … At least they’re together again. Her neshama [soul] should have an Aliya!”
Rebbetzin Kosman is survived by her seven children, Sima Schneider, Zahava Green, Buci Sackett, Dvora Finkelstein, Rabbi Avraham Kosman, Rabbi Chaim Kosman and Risyl Edelman; many grandchildren, great-grandchildren and a sister. Funeral services, interment and shiva were private. Contributions in her memory may be sent to Camp Shoresh, 3723 Old Court Rd., Suite 206, Baltimore, Md. 21208 or Ner Israel Rabbinical College, 400 Mt. Wilson Lane, Baltimore, Md. 21208.
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