Community leader and philanthropist Aileen Osofsky died June 22, 2010 in New York, surrounded by her family. She was 83.
Since the 1970s, Brooklyn native Osofsky and her husband, Meyer, split their time between Arizona and New York. While in Phoenix, Osofsky served on the boards of many Jewish organizations, including the Women's Philanthropy Board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix, Jewish Community Foundation and Brandeis University National Women's Committee.
In 1998, with the help of others in the community, Osofsky founded Shelter Without Walls, a Jewish Family & Children's Service program that helps transform the lives of domestic violence victims. She was awarded a JFCS Star in March 2008, an award given for continual fundraising and leadership within the organization.
In 2006, the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix, Women's Philanthropy Division, gave Osofsky the Gerda Weissmann Klein and Kurt Klein Award for contributing 10 or more years of service to both the Jewish and general communities.
"Aileen was a tireless and devoted supporter of many vital causes both within and outside the Jewish community," wrote Stuart Turgel, president of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Phoenix, in an e-mail to Jewish News. "Her passion on behalf of the Jewish Community Foundation and especially our Jewish Women's Endowment Fund energized everyone who knew her. ... Our foundation and our community are lessened by her loss but immeasurably better for her many contributions during her long life of communal service."
Turgel shared a letter Osofsky wrote to the Jewish Community Foundation in May, just weeks before her death. In the letter, she thanked Turgel and the board for continuing JCF's many worthwhile projects, and thanked Berry Sweet for "taking the lead with the Jewish Women's Endowment Fund," a project close to her heart.
Turgel said the letter was a "reminder of the extraordinary woman Aileen was and the way in which she took time to think of and thank others even as she was dealing with a very serious disease."
Born in Brooklyn in 1926, Osofsky met her future husband, Meyer, while in junior high school. They married in 1945. Meyer served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, and then founded "Aileen," a popular women's sportswear line named for his wife.
While in New York, Osofsky served on the boards of many organizations, including the Chemotherapy Foundation and the American Contract Bridge League's National Goodwill Committee, which she chaired for 25 years.
Osofsky is survived by her husband Meyer; six children, Larry, Wailin, Randy, Stephen, Alan and Deirdre; three siblings, Muriel, Albert and Barbara; 10 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
A memorial service took place July 1 at Riverside Memorial Chapel in New York. The family plans to hold another memorial service in Phoenix later this year.
Contributions are suggested to the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix, 12701 N. Scottsdale Road, Suite 201, Scottsdale 85254.