With the death of Rhoda Haas Goldman, the local Jewish community has lost a true ayshet chayil, a woman of valor.
Goldman, who died of a heart attack last week at age 71, was the kind of woman Judaism holds in the highest regard — dignified, philanthropic, modest, yet generous of heart and spirit.
It is hoped that her memory will not only be a blessing but an example of the way a single person can embrace multiple people and causes, and can make a difference in the community in which he or she lives.
A native San Franciscan, Goldman was indeed involved in a myriad of civic and Jewish causes, contributing not only her money but her time, her caring and her ideas.
Friends and family remember Goldman as a woman of great commitment — a commitment that shined through everything she did. Whether she was focusing her attention on the arts, health care or the environment or Congregation Emanu-El, where she belonged for most of her life, Goldman gave her all to everything she did.
With a heritage such as the Haas name, an institution in San Francisco, it would have been easy for Goldman to ride on the coattails of her prominent family. She chose instead to create a name for herself — with determination and, always, with dignity.
That was especially true in her later years, when few realized that Goldman, while balancing all her various commitments, had suffered an inordinate amount of physical trauma. She had overcome breast cancer, and had a coronary bypass 14 years ago.
Goldman never allowed her illnesses to get in the way of helping others, however. Her courage and her will to continue contributing to the community despite her own personal trials are inspirational.
We hope that in their time of grief, Goldman's family and friends will be comforted by the knowledge of their loves one's lasting contributions.
She will be missed.