Emily was a truly amazing woman who lived life fully and touched the lives of many people throughout Oregon and the world. She was energetic, enthusiastic and outspoken. She was proud to be part of the third generation of the Georges family born in Portland. Her family was always close; cousins were also neighbors and friends. Emily grew up in a community that valued discovery, open-mindedness, public service and hard work. She took these values seriously and measured everything she did against her own high standards for personal action. She looked with dismay at the world’s unfairness and bigotry and she worked tirelessly and effectively for good.
Music brought Emily into many lives. Her powerful voice chanted the Jewish liturgy for Shabbat and the holidays and she knew hundreds of folk songs. She brought her guitar and her joyful spirit to synagogues, mosques, churches, schools, and campfires where everyone was invited to sing along.
Emily’s family was at the heart of everything she did. She and her husband Jeff Gottfried built a loving and welcoming home with their daughters Miriam and Benna. With their extended families and lots of friends, there was always good food, wine, conversation and song.
Emily honored many traditions: religious, national and just plain personal. Songs and Scrabble on New Year’s Day; homemade hamentaschen for Purim; a Passover seder table that included total strangers, along with family and friends; a three-day Audubon Birdathon to spot hundreds of Oregon birds; flags and silly hats at the Cannon Beach Fourth of July parade; summer breakfasts of Emily-dug razor clams or French toast with her berry jam; hundreds of latkes and many menorahs for the annual Gottfried Chanukah.
For most of her life, her work was framed within Jewish organizations, but Emily’s concerns were always universal. She fought for individual respect and human rights, against hate crimes and hunger. She believed in inclusion, and there was room for everyone at her table.
Some of Emily’s many affiliations include:
• Oregon Area Jewish Committee
• Oregon Faith Roundtable Against Hunger
• City of Portland Human Rights Commission
• Vision Action Network of Washington County
• Coalition Against Hate Crimes
• Inter-Religious Action Network of Washington County
• Federal Emergency Food and Shelter Program
• Oregon Food Bank Policy Advisory Committee
Emily’s legacy was honored by the Oregon Legislature in a Senate Concurrent Resolution.
For more, read a remembrance of Emily published by the Oregonian.