Shoshana Shoubin Cardin

(1926 - 2018)


Choosing a single area of achievement in Shoshana S. Cardin’s career as a professional,  volunteer, activist and philanthropist is impossible. Her impact not only in Maryland but globally is immeasurable. Mrs. Cardin believes that true giving includes not only financial help but also taking personal responsibility for the goals of the people and institution one supports. Clearly, her example as an active participant in her efforts to make her community, country and world a better place for all of us challenges each of us to help in achieving those worthwhile goals. She has been a tireless worker for human rights, women’s rights, education, Jewish spirituality and culture, and the state of Israel.

While a full-time homemaker and mother, she was active in the Women’s Movement and in building and supporting Jewish educational institutions. As Chairwoman of the Maryland Commission for Women, she immediately commissioned a new logo and name, as the previous name was the Maryland Commission on the Status of Women. Shoshana declared the status of women was well known; it was now time to work for women.

Mrs. Cardin was instrumental in initiating the first hotline for women’s credit by working with Citicorp to create a pamphlet “Where Credit is Due,” which explained women’s economic rights, encouraged credit counseling for women, and developed a training film for state commissioners to use. These efforts helped women learn about and exercise their right to credit in their name. Mrs. Cardin appeared on national television’s, “ The Today Show,” in the mid 70’s, urging women to exercise their credit rights for purchasing cars and homes.

During her administration the Commission worked with the State Senate to revise rape legislation and convened the first state conference addressing the problems of battered women, a conference that led to the opening of the House of Ruth, a safe haven for victims of domestic violence.

As Chairwoman of MCW she promoted the concept of volunteerism; she cosponsored and convened the governor’s first statewide conference, along with the Junior League, to promote the role and value of volunteerism. She then helped to form and became the first chair of the Maryland Volunteer Network – which still operates today.

The initiative, which Mrs. Cardin spearheaded, remains part of the fabric of humanity. She was the first woman to become the Chair of the Board of Associated Jewish Community of Baltimore in1983; the first female President of Council of Jewish Federations in 1984; the first female Chair of the National Council of Soviet Jewry (NCSJ) in 1988; the first female Chair of the Council of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in 1991; the first female President of The National Center for Learning and Leadership (CLAL) in 1992; and the first woman to Chair the United Israel Appeal in 1994.

Currently, she serves as co-founder and Chair of the Shoshana S. Cardin School-Baltimore’s Independent Jewish High School; an Honor bestowed upon her by the founding board in 2003.

Shoshana’s courage and wisdom have brought her influence to bear in many national causes. As Chair of the NCSJ, she succeeded in convincing Gorbachev to denounce anti-Semitism as negative anti-social behavior, a position that became a government policy. She met with President Ronald Reagan, President George H.W. Bush, Secretary of State James Baker, Prime Minister of Israel Shimon Peres, Yitzhak Rabin, Titzhak Shamir and Ariel Sharon. She served as a Public Member of the United States delegation to the Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Conference, as well as an NGO representative in numerous world conferences promoting human rights for all.

Among her many awards, Shoshana Cardin has received six honorary degrees from a broad spectrum of universities for her work in the Humanities. Her curriculum vitae, as extensive as it is, is a mere snapshot of the many activities in which she was and is still engaged. As a tireless fighter for the humanitarian causes she holds so dear, Shoshana Shoubin Cardin is one of the most influential Jewish leaders of our time.

Biography courtesy of the Maryland Commission for Women, 2005.

© Copyright Maryland State Archives, 2005