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January 15th, 2009
Eau Claire native Sylvia Grossman (nee Zuckert), recently of Northbrook, Ill., died Dec. 18, at the age of 87. The cause of death was a stroke and complications of Alzheimer’s disease.
Grossman, who lived in Milwaukee for most of her life, graduated from Washington High School in 1938 and from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in labor economics, in 1942.
She attended graduate school at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and studied Hebrew and other Jewish subjects in adult education classes. She was the founder of a local ulpan (Hebrew study) group.
A member of Congregation Emanu-El B’ne Jeshurun for more than 60 years, she served as an officer of its Sisterhood, taught religious school and was active on social action and religious school committees.
She was president of the Bay Point Group of Hadassah-Milwaukee Chapter, and a board member of the Wisconsin Society of Jewish Learning, American Friends of Hebrew University and Jewish National Fund, where she was also an honoree in 1995. She was also involved in many other volunteer organizations.
Following her college graduation, during World War II, Grossman worked as personnel manager at her family’s business, A.B. Zuckert Co., which manufactured raincoats and military ponchos.
Later she taught Hebrew and other Jewish subjects to adults, including those studying for conversion at Congregation Emanu-El.
“There is a whole ‘generation’ of Jews-by-choice, now actively engaged in the Milwaukee Jewish community, who studied in classes Sylvia’s taught. She was very proud of her role in introducing them to Judaism and gratified by their eventual enthusiasm for and participation in Jewish life,” her family wrote.
Grossman was especially interested in study, travel, music, theatre, reading, swimming, family and friends. She was an excellent cook and hostess, according to her family. She traveled to Israel some 12 times and to all continents except Antarctica.
Preceded in death by husband Robert J. Grossman in 1983, she is survived by daughter Linda (Eli) Frank of San Francisco; son Larry (Ellen) Grossman of Northbrook; and four grandchildren.
Blane Goodman Funeral Service handled funeral and burial arrangements. Rabbis Steven Adams and Marc Berkson and Cantor David Barash officiated at private graveside services in Greenwood Cemetery on Dec. 21.
Memorial contributions to Hadassah-Milwaukee Chapter, American Friends of Hebrew University or the charity of the donor’s choice are appreciated by the family.