Date of Birth: September 1, 1916
Date of Death: February 2, 2008
Place of Birth: Chicago, Illinois
Gave of herself to support local, national and global causes
The daughter of a furniture store owner and a model for Marshall Field, Jane Korn Kravitz was gifted with the twin talents of elegance and creativity, traits that served her well in both the Jewish and sectarian communities.
Jane suffered the loss of her mother when she was 11 years old. Although she had six older siblings and a wonderful, dedicated father, this was a profound loss for Jane and she carried the sadness for a long time. She also never had the opportunity to attend college. Nevertheless, she was endowed with a strong motivation to be successful. She educated herself by being an avid reader, attending adult education classes, and applying herself to many activities in her community.
Following her high school graduation in the Chicago west-side neighborhood of Woodlawn in 1934, Jane met salesman Sam Kravitz, and they married in 1937. Their eldest son, Norman, was born in 1938 and the growing family moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan the next year. After a brief period of time renting, they bought a house in the Breton Downs area where they stayed for the next 11 years, raising two more children – Phyllis and Martin (“Paul”).
Together with Sam, to whom she was married more than 70 years, the couple partnered with energy and enthusiasm in raising their family and being involved with numerous Judaic and secular organizations. All three of their children obtained graduate degrees, had successful careers, and contributed to society, thus embodying important Jewish values.
Her Jewish identity was a source of fervent pride for Jane. She made friends easily in both the Jewish and non-Jewish communities, and her activities in both arenas were numerous and varied. She was inspired by her Jewish upbringing and the integral values of being concerned for others and getting fully involved in whatever cause she put her talents towards.
Jane was actively involved as both a leader and a follower in the affairs of Temple Emanuel, the Jewish Community Fund, the Parent Teacher Association, and Democratic Party politics. She was a significant contributor in fundraising for local, national and Israeli causes.
“Her positive spirit and energy infused people, whether she was chairing a meeting or simply preparing food in the Temple kitchen for a Shabbat dinner,” daughter Phyllis Kravitz said. “I believe my mother made a difference in many different ways.”
Written by Jane Nordberg