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Edna Goldsmith

1874 – 1945

by Lori A. Ferguson

Edna Goldsmith was a driving force in the establishment of the Ohio Federation of Temple Sisterhoods. A founder of the federation, she served as its first president from 1918 to 1923 and then served as honorary president until her death. From 1923 to 1929, she was a member of the executive board of the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods. Goldsmith also served on the executive board of the Cleveland Council of Jewish Women and as president of the Temple’s Women’s Association. In her time outside of these commitments, she authored a book of Bible stories for children, Great Stories of the Bible (Old Testament) (1924).

Edna Goldsmith was born in Springfield, Ohio, on December 14, 1874. Her paternal grandfather, Theodore Goldsmith, was among the pioneers of Cleveland, settling there in 1849. Her maternal grandfather, Dr. Marcus Ahlenfeld, was a surgeon at the University of Maryland. Edna was the daughter of Herman and Hinda N. (Ahlenfeld) Goldsmith and had a brother, Marcus A. Goldsmith of New York, and three sisters, Mrs. Philip S. Goldberg and Mrs. Louis Bloch of Cleveland, and Mrs. James Lowenstein of Highland Park, Illinois.

Throughout her life, Goldsmith was active in welfare organizations, concentrating particularly in the educational field. She served on the Board of Governors of the National Education League, and in recognition of her work in education, a Hebrew Union College Scholarship was established in her name in the early 1940s. As a member of the Consumers’ League, Goldsmith was also a leader in the campaign for the minimum wage. From 1914 to 1918, she was a member of the National Speakers Bureau for the U.S. Government.

Edna Goldsmith died on November 15, 1945, in Cleveland, Ohio, after a long illness.


AJYB 48:490; Goldsmith, Edna. Great Stories of the Bible (Old Testament) (1924); Jewish Review and Observer 17, no. 47 (November 23, 1945), 6:1; WWIAJ (1938).

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How to cite this page

Ferguson, Lori A.. "Edna Goldsmith." Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia. 1 March 2009. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on November 17, 2018) <>.


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