NEW YORK (Aug. 25)
Rita Salberg, a leader in the American Jewish community, died in the Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital last Wednesday at the age of 58. She was a member of the national commission, the national executive committee and the New York Regional Board of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, was vice president of B’nai B’rith Women and vice president of the National Conference on Soviet Jewry. She also chaired the Women’s Issues Committee for the Leadership Conference of Major Jewish Women’s Organizations.
Salberg was a moving force in organizing women’s and Jewish groups to press United Nations member-states to keep the recently concluded Nairobi Conference on Women focused on women’s issues. Appalled at the anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism she encountered at the UN Women’s Conference in Copenhagen in 1980, she returned home resolved to do something about it. To that end, through ADL and B’nai B’rith Women, she organized meetings, briefings and conferences here and abroad, efforts that saw positive results in Nairobi.
She was a recipient of the State of Israel Bonds Award, Israel Leadership Award, Israel Solidarity Award, and the B’nai B’rith Youth Services Award. She also was a member of the executive board of Brandeis University Women.
A lifetime resident of the New York Metropolitan area, she was a New York City school teacher for 14 years and a graduate of Brooklyn College. As a longtime resident of Peekskill, Salberg also gave her energies to her community, serving on the New York State Human Rights Commission, the Board of the UJA Federation of Northern Westchester, and the Board of the Jewish Community of Northern Westchester County.
To honor her memory, B’nai B’rith Women has established a special fund to continue work in the public affairs issues which were her special interest.