Lester Rosenberg, Chicago community leader, dies


(JTA) — Chicago Jewish community leader Lester Rosenberg , who continued to be involved in Jewish communal life after a car accident left him paralyzed, has died.

Rosenberg, who was active in the Chicago Jewish community for decades, died Sept. 30 at Evanston Hospital in Illinois of complications from pneumonia. He was 83.

Rosenberg had attended the annual meeting of the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago just two weeks before his death. He had served as the federation’s board chairman from 2002 to 2004, immediately after serving as the general chairman in 2001, when it raised a record $67.2 million.

In being awarded the Julius Rosenwald Award, the federation’s highest honor, in 2005, federation President Steven Nasatir described Rosenberg as "a man who not only gives of his resources, but gives of his heart and soul for the Jewish people."

Rosenberg was president of the Jewish Council for Youth Services and the Spertus Museum. He served on the board of the Jewish Community Centers of Chicago, Mount Sinai Hospital Medical Center and Louis A. Weiss Memorial Hospital, and he was a founder of the Dawn Schuman Institute.

As president of the Israel Children’s Center, he helped build 14 tennis centers throughout Israel. Rosenberg, whose son Lee is the president of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, also served in several national and international Jewish communal positions.

An investment banker and CPA, Rosenberg graduated from the University of Illinois. He served in the U.S. Navy in 1944-45.

He was paralyzed in a car accident in May 2009 on the north side of Chicago.

Along with his son Lee, Rosenberg is survived by his wife, Norma; a son, Steven; and three grandchildren.

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