Cardin, Shoshana Shoubin
CARDIN, SHOSHANA SHOUBIN
CARDIN, SHOSHANA SHOUBIN (1926– ), Jewish lay leader and pioneer for women rights.
Cardin is best known as the first woman president of the *Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (1984). Her self-defined greatest accomplishment was to encourage women to achieve positions of authority and leadership, by example. She was the first woman to become national president of five major organizations with budgets ranging from $2 million to $100 million. She attended Johns Hopkins University, McCoy College (1942–45), but received her degree from the University of California at Los Angeles, B.A. (1946) and later returned to school to hone her skills in non-profit management, completing an M.A. from Antioch University, Baltimore (1979). She began working on the local level, assuming positions of authority and responsibility in the Baltimore and Maryland community, and then moved on to the national level. As president of Maryland's Federation of Jewish Women's Organizations in 1960 and 1961, she called attention to issues of racial inequality. In 1967, Cardin served as a delegate to Maryland's Constitutional Convention and joined Maryland's Commission for Women in 1968. She was nominated to the Federal Reserve Board and turned it down, yet continued to work to change federal and state laws concerning women's legal access to credit. She also served as chair of Maryland's State Employment and Training Council from 1979 to 1983.
Her most significant accomplishment, in her own words, "was to personally persuade former Soviet President Gorbachev in 1991 to condemn antisemitism and racism in a public statement and to remove such anti-social action from government policy. This was the opening for the inclusion of such language in international political arenas, such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe."
The consensus of those who know her work is that unlike many who have assumed the presidencies of multiple organizations, she brought to each organization superb skills and leadership and left any organization she worked with better than it was when she first got there. She played major roles in local, national, and international causes, with an emphasis on women's rights, Jewish issues, and Israel.
Among the highlights of her career, which she self-describes as "lecturer, fundraiser, and self-employed organizational consultant," she has served as chairman of the *National Conference on Soviet Jewry during the time when the Soviet Union was collapsing and Jews were experiencing new opportunities and different dangers; president of the *Jewish Telegraphic Agency (jta); chairman of the board of the Associated Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore; commissioner of the Maryland Commission on Human Relations; chairman of the Maryland State Employment and Training Council, and chairman of the Maryland Commission for Women.
In 1984, Cardin was elected as the first woman president of the Council of Jewish Federations, a national umbrella organization for local groups raising money for social and educational services and for Israel in 189 North American Jewish communities. In this role, she became the first woman to lead a major national Jewish organization. In subsequent years, Cardin also led the United Israel Appeal and the Center for Learning and Leadership. She was almost always the first woman and a most successful leader – male or female.
She is also one of Maryland's Most Influential 100 Women. She was a founder of her namesake school – the Shoshana S. Cardin Jewish Community High School of Greater Baltimore.
Cardin believes Jewish educators are holy vessels who are most responsible for the future generation of Jews. No profession is more vital, she said, and teachers need partnerships with lay leaders so that they receive due respect and recognition.
[Jeanette Friedman (2nd ed.)]