Jacqueline Beaver, 93, activist

Jacqueline S. Beaver
Jacqueline S. Beaver
Posted: November 10, 2013

Jacqueline S. Beaver, 93, formerly of Bala Cynwyd, a community worker, died Tuesday, Nov. 5, of heart failure at a nursing facility in West Hills, Calif. She had moved west to be near family.

The former Jacqueline Stember was a liberal activist who fully embraced the Jewish concept of "Tikuun Olam," meaning repair of the world.

"She believed that every person had an obligation to make the world a better place and that each individual could make a real difference," said her son, Joel D.

Born in New York City, she graduated from Erasmus Hall High School and was awarded a full scholarship to Brooklyn College.

After graduating in 1940, she was set to teach high school history, but there were no jobs. Instead, she went to work managing the New York showroom of Charles Porter Inc., a maker of women's casual clothing.

Mrs. Beaver's husband, David, was severely wounded in the Philippiness during World War II. He recovered and, through her connections in the New York garment trade, he was able to go into the ladies' garment business.

In 1955, the couple, by then with two young children, moved to Bala Cynwyd, where her organizational abilities were soon recognized. She became president of the Main Line Chapter of the American Jewish Congress, and later president of its Philadelphia women's division and a member of its National Governing Council.

She also served for many years on the board of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Philadelphia.

She and her husband were early members of Main Line Reform Temple in Wynnewood and helped raise funds for the synagogue, built in 1960. She was a vice president and trustee of the temple.

When she learned that her children were being taught Christian practices and songs at the public Cynwyd Elementary School, she met with the principal to protest. Within a few years the U.S. Supreme Court would decide cases banning Bible reading and other religious activities in public schools.

"She felt that those were very important decisions which had a great impact on children, including her own," her son said.

Mrs. Beaver was so intent on community work that she maintained a home office with a designated phone line. "Her children were not permitted to use it," her son said. Despite her volunteer commitments, she cooked dinner every night for her family and was a gracious hostess.

After her children left home, she took a paid job as director of political action for senior adult groups within the Jewish Ys and Community Centers of Philadelphia.

During many years of community work, she mentored younger women. One of them, Susan P. Myers, became president of the Pennsylvania Region of American Jewish Congress and cochair of its National Governing Council.

"Her elegant appearance was coupled with a deep belief in, and commitment to, social justice," Myers said. "She led by example, always ready to articulate her convictions and to act upon them."

Mrs. Beaver was active in the Lower Merion Democratic Committee and helped elect the first Democratic township commissioner from her ward.

Besides her son, she is survived by daughter Bonnie A. and two granddaughters. Her husband died in 2009.

At Mrs. Beaver's request, there will be no services.



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