Researcher and historian in Judaic studies, Gladys Rosen wrote the following about her childhood home: “Our house was filled with Hebrew books and dictionaries. We never had a living room, just a dining room with a book-covered table. Until I was 4 or 5, I thought that’s what dining room tables were for—books, not eating.”
Born on August 15, 1924, to Morris Ben-Zion and Mildred (Buckstein) Levine, Gladys grew up in Queens, New York. She graduated from Brooklyn College in 1943 with honors in classics, and two years later received a degree from the Jewish Theological Seminary. In 1944, she married chemist Murray Rosen, and they had two sons, David and Jonathan. In 1948, Gladys Rosen earned a Ph.D. in Semitic languages and literature from Columbia University. After teaching Hebrew and Judaic studies at Brooklyn College, she became an executive associate at the American Jewish History Center of the Jewish Theological Seminary from 1960 to 1970.
Shortly after, Rosen became the program specialist at the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and published a groundbreaking manual, Guidelines to Jewish History and Social Studies Instructional Materials. This publication provided important information for the teaching of Jewish history in American secondary schools. In addition to writing other AJC publications, she helped organize conferences on the Jewish family, Jewish education, and the changing role of the Jewish American woman.
An active advocate of lifelong learning, she served as the assistant director of the Academy for Jewish Studies Without Walls and the successful Jewish Studies Summer Seminar series held at various college campuses. A frequent lecturer, she was also an interviewer for a nationally syndicated radio program, Jewish Viewpoint.
Rosen edited Jewish Life in America: Historical Perspectives (1978) and coedited with Steven Bayme Jewish Family and Jewish Continuity (1994).