A pillar of Atlanta’s Jewish community, Connie Giniger, died peacefully in Germantown, Md., on Monday, March 19, 2018.
Connie and her husband, Mort, made Atlanta their home for 38 years starting in 1964. They moved to Maryland to be near their daughter, Barb Giniger Cooper (Stan), and her family after 9/11.
Connie was born in the Bronx on Nov. 4, 1925. She attended Walton High School and City College, where she received a B.S. in business. Her first job was with the New York Telephone Co. She soon married and had two daughters but always envisioned having a career. After reading Betty Friedan’s “The Feminine Mystique” and recognizing herself in the pages, Connie went back to school and got her teaching degree.
She taught fifth grade in New Jersey and fifth, sixth and seventh grades at the Hebrew Academy in Atlanta. Light-years ahead of her time, she set up an open classroom that exuded creativity and fun learning, including having a “Girl Talk” corner, giving preteen girls a forum to share thoughts and anxieties about becoming women. Students adored her. “There are few people in my life that I can remember with as much respect as I had for her,” one said recently.
An active member of The Temple, Connie volunteered with Rabbi Alvin Sugarman to set up a formal program for visiting Jewish prisoners at the Atlanta federal penitentiary. This led to her next job as the volunteer coordinator for the Georgia Department of Corrections, and she had fascinating encounters, including with a Mafia boss, who said, “If you need anything, Connie, just ask.” She didn’t.
Connie then became the regional director for B’nai B’rith Women and completed her professional career as the director of Meals on Wheels for Jewish Family & Career Services. From children to the elderly, Connie spent her entire professional life in the service of others, providing boundless energy and love.
“Being bold and imaginative” was who she was, recall daughters Pat Giniger Snyder (Adam) and Barb. “She always looked forward and was always reinventing herself.”
She was a Brownie and Girl Scout leader, a BBG adviser to the Aviva chapter, the president of the Children’s Civil Theater, a volunteer at the JF&CS shelter, and a ringleader, along with Mort, of their beloved chavurah connected with The Temple.
When they moved to Maryland, Connie became a trailblazer at their newly formed Jewish community, Shirat HaNefesh; was a docent at the Butterfly House and the National Air and Space Museum; and became an adviser to people returning to the workforce.
Among her most successful accomplishments was being the perfect grandmother to Lili and Kasey Snyder and Grady and Lila Cooper. She taught them grace and determination, how to be the ideal straight man for a very funny Papa, and the trick of wearing signature butterfly pins on one’s back. “She spread her wings of loveliness all around us.”
Contributions in her memory may be made to the Revitz House Torah Fund, Charles E. Smith Life Communities, 6121 Montrose Road, Rockville, MD 20852.