Selma “Sim” Brandow ז"ל
April 18, 1925-March 29, 2023
Selma Brandow passed away in Lemoyne, PA (formerly of Philadelphia) on March 29 at the age of 97. She was the beloved wife of 77 years to Theodore ( ז"ל); loving mother of Jonathan Brandow (Susan Brodkin), Riannon Walsh, and Shanna Brandow; adoring grandmother of Emily Rachael Brandow, Sarah Danielle Carvajal (Alex), and great-granddaughter Evalina.
Selma first met Ted, her future husband, in the fifth grade. They became sweethearts as teenagers and married after his return from war in 1945. She was the logical one to his crazy creativity; the ideologue to his humor; the determined organizer of extended family events to his life-of-the-party demeanor.
Sim was a doctor of sociology and a pioneer in women’s studies, devoting herself to research on women in Israel, on the kibbutz and in political movements. She taught at four colleges and universities for 29 years. She was a concert pianist who performed several times at Penn’s Irvine Auditorium to capacity audiences and continued to play at community events and synagogues for much of her life.
She was a political activist through middle age—an early Sixties member of the Students for a Democratic Society and an organizer of the urban-suburban development project North Philadelphia Pipeline Connect. Beginning in 1959 she organized the Social Action Committee at our Temple Beth Tikvah in Erdenheim PA, became PTA president in a community that at the time considered Jews new and strange, and acted as the coordinator for the Whitemarsh Valley Fair Housing Project in a decidedly segregated and unfriendly area during the civil rights era.
She loved Israel and its founding hopes. Her favorite authors were Yehoshua, Oz and Grossman. She asked to be buried with an Israeli flag, with soil she’d brought back from Eretz and with her mother’s passed-down siddur.
Contributions in her memory may be made to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (https://give.bcrf.org/fundraiser/4063195)
May the shekhinah grant her a more complete level of peace in the world to come.