JCRC’s Tribute to Former Congresswoman Pat Schroeder
By: Roz Duman, At Large Member, JCRC and Chair, Outreach Committee
Members of the Jewish Community Relations Council were saddened to hear the news that on Monday, March 13th, Colorado’s former Congresswoman Pat Schroeder passed away. People of Colorado and worldwide lost a treasure. I lost a former boss, a dear friend and mentor. From 1974 until 1983, I worked in her Denver District Office as her scheduler and liaison to the Jewish Community.
Pat was the voice for all voices who could not be heard. For members of the Jewish community, she was our voice in Washington. Throughout her 24 years in Congress, she advocated for a strong and secure Israel.
Right after the 1972 election, Pat was placed on the Armed Service Committee and in 1973 the committee was flown to Israel at the time the Yom Kippur War broke out. In her own words, she wrote, “while there I was privileged to have several meetings and conversations with Prime Minister Golda Meir. There had only been 4 women prime ministers in the whole world at that time and clearly none in the Middle East! I was totally blown away by her and how she was handling a full-blown war.”
During one of her visits to Denver, Pat discovered that as a young girl, Golda Meir had lived in Denver and the house that she lived in was to be demolished. Pat’s reaction was “No Way” and because of her determination, the house has become the Golda Meir House Museum.
Pat was in Congress during the time when 3 million Jews were desperately trying to get out of Russia. Pat wrote to the” Refusniks” as they were called, contacted prison guards to find out how Jewish prisoners were doing, traveled to Russia and secretly visited with those who were not able to leave the country. Pat was able to secure an appointment in the Russian Embassy on behalf of her constituents concerned about our people and I was asked to join her.
Pat and I stayed in touch all these years and on Sunday, March 12th, I spoke with her never knowing it would be my last time to hear her voice. Today, I grieve, but how grateful I am to have had her in my life. Pat, we will miss you, but you will live on in our hearts. May you rest in peace.