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Short biography
Mamie Goldsmith was born to a nonobservant Jewish-American family and named for her mother, who died a week after her birth. She was educated in the New York City public schools and later attended classes at Columbia University and the University of Cincinnati, though she never matriculated at these universities. She received a degree as one of the first female students to graduate from the Teachers Institute Extension Course at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. In 1922, she married Emanuel Gamoran, a Russian emigrant and a member of the faculty at JTS, with whom she had three children. The couple shared a commitment to Jewish education and both were members of the Bureau of Jewish Education. In 1923, when Emanuel Gamoran was appointed educational director of the Commission on Jewish Education of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, the family moved to Cincinnati, Ohio. Although her husband was credited with having revolutionized the curricula and techniques of Jewish religious education, Mamie Goldsmith Gamoran also made major contributions in this field. She served for two years as principal of the Conservative synagogue Adath Israel religious school. She became a prolific writer of Jewish children's textbooks and fiction, and wrote a confirmation service for girls. She was the author of the three-volume textbook for junior high school students, The New Jewish History (1953, 1956, 1957). Her most popular books were Hillel's Happy Holidays (1939) and Fun Ways to Holidays: A Book of Puzzles Based on American and Jewish Holidays (1951). After her husband's death, she co-edited his biography, Emanuel Gamoran: His Life and His Work (1979). Mamie Goldsmith Gamoran traveled widely to carry Jewish education to liberal congregations in England, Ireland, Holland, Rhodesia, and South Africa. She was a volunteer national board member of Hadassah and vice president of Histadruth Ivrith of America. She wrote a memoir for her children, A Family History (1985), which was published by her son after her death.
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