Geraldine K. Gross, who covered the Brownstone Brooklyn area for The Jewish Week from the mid-90s until 2001, died on Jan. 28th at 86 after a long illness.
Mrs. Gross had a long career as a copy writer and editor, working at what was then Chemical Bank, as well as working writing free-lance newspaper and magazine articles. She also wrote a novel, "The Door Between," and a collection of short stories, "The Persecution of Tante Chava." She was a devoted member of Congregation Baith Israel Anshei Emes, also known as the Kane Street Synagogue in Cobble Hill, often writing profiles of the congregation's prominent members as well as covering events and the resurgence of Jewish life in Park Slope, Brooklyn Heights and other downtown Brooklyn areas. She also regularly contributed first-person reflections to the paper's Back of the Book column and wrote a column for The Brooklyn Paper chain of publications.
"Geraldine was a determined, thorough and very professional reporter, whose enthusiasm was matched only by her grace and affability in dealing with her subjects," said Adam Dickter, assistant managing editor of The Jewish Week, who supervised Mrs. Gross's assignments as Brooklyn editor. "She was also a wonderful storyteller."
Mrs. Gross and her husband, George, moved to Brooklyn when they married in the mid-1970s and immediately became active at Kane Street when they were married there. "They found each other and found the synagogue within a very close time," said Rabbi Sam Weintraub, the current spiritual leader of the congregation. "So there were two marriages, one between them and one with Kane Street."
In a journal message in the occasion of her being honored by the congregation, Mrs. Gross wrote "I wanted everyone to know about the wonders of Kane Street so I took on the job of synagogue publicist. No one appointed me to the job or asked me to do it. I had always earned my living as a writer, mostly in communications and public relations and I believed there was a lot going on at Kane Street that I could write about spin into a news release or a story."
Rabbi Weintraub said Mrs. Gross came from a very poor background, the daughter of an immigrant bookbinder, who could not afford to send his kids to college, but she was able to become an accomplished writer with no formal education because of her talent and perseverance. As a reporter, he said, "she had her finger on the pulse of the community."
Mrs. Gross is survived by her husband's two daughters and their children and grandchildren. George Gross died in 2007.
A memorial service is planned for Feb. 27 at Kane Street Synagogue.