Naomi Cowen

Obituary of Naomi A. Solomon Cowen

Naomi A. Cowen, nee Solomon, 84, passed away on May 7th, 2020 in North Andover, Massachusetts.  She was preceded in death by her husband, Dr. Murray Cowen, parents Rabbi Aaron and Esther Solomon, sister Judith Solomon Kravetz, brother David Solomon, and sons Michael and Jeffrey.  Naomi is survived by her son Nathaniel Cowen and daughter Jennifer Corbit, as well as her brothers Rabbi Josef Solomon and Dr. Jonathan Solomon and numerous nieces, nephews and grandchildren.

 

Naomi was born in Rochester, NY on February 29, 1936 .  The middle of 5 children, she fondly described their home as busy, happy, and loud, full of people and music. A graduate of Monroe High School she then went on to attend Mount Holyoke College, earning her degree in Literature.  She wanted to teach children that they had something worth saying and how to say it well. She worked as an English teacher with elementary school students for several years. Feeling the need to surround herself with her own children, she started a family, having three boys and a girl.

 

Following the childhood death of her firstborn, Naomi was determined "to make something constructive out of it as a way of honoring and marking what happened. I worked hard after my son died to improve public school financing, so that other - living - children would benefit, children I'd never know."  She was a named plaintiff in a successful United States Supreme Court case - Committee for Public Education and Religious Liberty v. Nyquist (1973) - which overturned unconstitutional state aid to parochial schools. She saw public education as providing equal opportunity and social mobility to all students, regardless of religion, race, social and ethnic backgrounds. She was President of the Rockland County League of Women Voters, significantly increasing their membership and voice in local, state and national politics and leading the successful push for redistricting the County Legislature to One Person, One Vote, One Legislator, One Vote.  She was a lifetime member of the NAACP and was recognized by them for her efforts and dedication.

 

Naomi greatly enjoyed gardening, taking pride in growing a variety of vegetables as well as flowers, sharing with friends, family and others in her community.  She was a talented baker, whipping up treats from miniature cheesecakes to specialty birthday cakes, as dedicated to presentation as to creation.  Music was a constant in the house and her children and husband would often find her humming, playing songs from favorite musicals or practicing classical pieces on her Steinway grand piano.

 

Of all her interests and passions, none was greater than familyShe actively immersed herself in raising her children, filling their lives with love and encouragement. She supported their interests and celebrated each child's individuality. Her extended family cherished many years celebrating Thanksgiving at her house in NY, a multi-day festival of food, drink, humor and music.  Yearly trips to the NY State Fair and weekend trips to see plays and musicals were just some of the activities she planned for family.  Her anticipation of family gatherings heightened the joy and happiness for all attending.  Her laugh, playfulness and affection will be remembered by all who knew her.

Donations are suggested to the following charities:  Americans United for the Separation of Church and State (au.org), The Anti-Defamation League (adl.org), The Southern Poverty Law Center (splcenter.org) and The NAACP – Spring Valley NY branch (SpringValleyNyNAACP.org) and Ronald McDonald House of New York (rmh-newyork.org).

She would want you to vote.

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