Shoshana Shoubin Cardin

b. 1926

Known by presidents and prime ministers, Shoshana Shoubin Cardin has achieved iconic status in the world of international Jewish diplomacy. The daughter of chalutzim (pioneers), Shoshana was born in 1926 in Palestine and came to the United States a year later. Raised in a committed Zionist family, Shoshana was an avid student who excelled in both Jewish and general studies. After studying at Johns Hopkins University's McCoy College and UCLA, she taught elementary school and married attorney Jerry Cardin. They had four children, Steven, Ilene, Nina, and Sanford, and were among the first Jews to move to "rural" Baltimore County, just outside the Beltway. Continuing in her parents' footsteps, the Cardin home became a gathering place for family, community, and political events. An activist and leader in numerous local organizations, Shoshana also rose through the ranks to become the first woman to lead major, national Jewish organizations: Council of Jewish Federations, United Israel Appeal, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Center for Learning and Leadership (CLAL), the National Conference on Soviet Jewry (NCSJ), and the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA). A visionary leader, Shoshana was most recently instrumental in creating the Shoshana S. Cardin Jewish Community High School, Baltimore's first trans-denominational Jewish high school.

 

Scope and Content Note

Shoshana describes her family background, immigrating to the United States in 1927 and moving to Baltimore in 1928.  She talks about her earliest memories in Baltimore, her neighborhood, the Jewish community, her social life, and the schools she attended.  Cardin talks about living through World War II, following along with the events of the war, and her awareness of the atrocities in Europe.  She attended Johns Hopkins University’s McCoy College and transferred to the University of California, Los Angeles, for her senior year, where she became involved in dance and drama. After graduation, Shoshana explains she found work as an elementary school teacher, continued to be involved in social organizations and met her husband, Jerry Cardin, an attorney who was active in politics.  They moved to "rural" Baltimore County and were among the first Jewish families there.  Cardin reflects on raising her family, changes in the Jewish community in Baltimore, maintaining family traditions, and experiences of antisemitism over the years.  Finally, Shoshana looks back on her volunteerism, giving back to her community and the charities she has been involved in throughout her adult life.  

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How to cite this page

Oral History of Shoshana Shoubin Cardin. Interviewed by Elaine Eff . 30 August 2001, 4 September 2001, 7 September 2001, 3 October 2001. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on April 19, 2024) <http://jwa.org/oralhistories/cardin-shoshana>.

Oral History of Shoshana Shoubin Cardin by the Jewish Women's Archive is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://jwa.org/contact/OralHistory.