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Passings: Golda Koschitzky, York patron, supporter of the Centre for Jewish Studies

Passings: Golda Koschitzky, York patron, supporter of the Centre for Jewish Studies

Golda Koschitzky, York benefactor and honorary degree recipient, has died. She was 102.

On Nov. 5, 1999, York presented the philanthropist and Jewish education innovator with an honorary doctor of laws. Over 90 years old at the time, she had supported the establishment of a professorship then a Chair in Jewish Teacher Education at York through the Israel Koschitzky Family Charitable Foundation, named for her husband. The Chair was the first of its kind in North America at a public university and was created to respond to a growing demand for teachers of Hebrew and Jewish studies in Canada and beyond.

Right: Golda Koschitzky received an honorary doctor of laws in 1999. Photo courtesy of Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections, ASC06177.

In 2008, York’s Centre for Jewish Studies was renamed the Israel & Golda Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies. The dedication followed another generous gift from the Koschitzky family in honour of the 100th birthday of the Koschitzky family matriarch and the 50th anniversary of York University in 2009. The centre conducts cutting-edge research in a range of Jewish studies and offers one of the largest university-level programs in Jewish studies outside Israel.

"York University has lost a great friend with Golda Koschitzky's passing," said President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri. "Her vision and generosity have helped put York at the forefront of Jewish studies, and her legacy will endure through the Israel & Golda Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies at York."

Professor Michael Brown, director of York University's Centre for Jewish Studies in 1999 when Golda Koschitzky received her honorary degree, said she and her family have provided leadership and support for local, national and international organizations, including the United Jewish Appeal/Jewish Federation of Greater Toronto.

"Having endured physical hardship in Nazi-occupied Europe, the Koschitzky family arrived in Canada at the end of the Second World War penniless, but determined to succeed and help others around them,” Brown said at the time. "Through their devotion to family and traditional Judaism, through their commitment to education, and through their participation in the commercial and cultural life of Canada, they became role models for members of the Jewish community as well as for newcomers to Canada of all backgrounds.”

Right: Golda Koschitzky, seated, with, from left, Saul, Mira, Julia and Henry Koschitzky

Golda Koschitzky leaves sons Saul and Henry, daughters-in-law Mira and Julia, and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Shiva will be observed at the home of Saul and Mira Koschitzky, 4 Coreydale Court, North York, through Sunday morning.

Republished courtesy of YFile – York University’s daily e-bulletin.