The City of Santa Monica has bestowed an honor on a 94-year-old resident by issuing a city proclamation declaring Sunday, August 19th, “Rose Kaufman Day in Santa Monica.”
Rose Kaufman, a 47-year resident of Santa Monica, was honored by the City of Santa Monica and the League of Women Voters of Santa Monica for her more than 55 years of volunteer service to the nonpartisan political organization and for her more than 20 years of volunteer commitment to the City of Santa Monica.
“I joined the League of Women Voters in Toledo, Ohio for $3 a year,” Kaufman said. “It was either December 1950 or January 1951, but it seems like only yesterday. So here I am. I think you are all honoring me just because I survived, but I appreciate it. I am really very touched. All I can say is that League people are special people.”
Kaufman served on a number of City of Santa Monica boards and commissions, including the Citizens Task Force on Development, the Commission on Older Americans and the Fourth Street Housing Committee.
She also spoke before the Santa Monica City Council over the decades in support of various issues such as crime prevention programs, enhanced healthcare benefits for Medicare recipients, senior housing and traffic safety.
Born in Philadelphia to Lithuanian immigrants, Kaufman was named Rachel Leah Rootkin after her maternal grandmother and the Biblical two wives of Jacob.
As one of six children, Kaufman’s sisters teased her for having a boy’s name when Rachel was shortened to Ray, so her parents changed her name to Rose Lillian.
She graduated from high school at 16 and in 1942 she married Philip Kaufman.
Her interest in the League of Women Voters began in the suburbs of Philadelphia, but she could not find the time for meetings and activities with three small children at home.
In 1950, the Kaufman family moved to Toledo, Ohio because of Philip Kaufman’s job.
In Ohio, Kaufman found the time for the League and was elected to a board of director’s seat.
The Kaufman family moved again, in 1960, to Santa Monica.
She has served twice as a League of Women Voters of Santa Monica president and in many positions as an officer, director or committee member.
Her specific interests include voter service activities such as
presenting ballot measures and coordinating the speakers bureau.
Philip Kaufman passed away in 2003. In addition to her three children, Kaufman has two grandchildren.
She currently chairs the Santa Monica Emeritus College Executive Committee.
“Rose Kaufman has been a fearless leader and champion of educating citizens to make a difference in the political future of our cities, state, nation and the world,” says the city proclamation. “Rose Kaufman has been at the forefront of advocating for good government principles, forging responsible approaches to issues and taxi coupons.”
A joint resolution from California State Assemblywoman Julia Brownley (D-Santa Monica), of the 41st District, and California State Senator Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica), of the 23rd District, was also presented to Kaufman on Sunday, August 19th.
“Rose Kaufman, a long-standing member of the Santa Monica community has enjoyed a lifetime of remarkable success in every avenue of her endeavors,” says the joint resolution. “Throughout her distinguished service, Rose Kaufman has become renowned for her superb ability to work with a diverse group of people in order to forge solutions to the challenges that face the community.”
The League of Women Voters of California presented Kaufman with a letter of commendation and the League of Women Voters of Santa Monica presented Kaufman with a 50-year commemorative pin.
“You have enthusiastically championed the education of your community in Santa Monica while capably supporting and providing the mission of the League of Women Voters,” says the letter of commendation. “You have also provided sound advice and guidance to many League women and their projects over years of service as a board member.”
League of Women Voters of Santa Monica president Amy Bishop Dunbar notes the fact that August 20th, the day after Rose Kaufman Day in Santa Monica, is Women’s Equity Day, the day women in the United States received the right to vote 87 years ago.
“I look out, as a woman with young children, at the inspiration that Rose and other community leaders provide,” says Bishop Dunbar. “I recognize that there is so much in Santa Monica that motivates children to think about their future.”
Kaufman is the first and only League member in California to receive a letter of commendation from the League of Women Voters of California, Bishop Dunbar said.