A Catalogue of Blessings: The Legacy of a Montreal Woman
“It is not about the years in your life, but the life in your years.” Rosalind “Roz” Goodman was fortunate to have both.
Born in Canada, Rosalind Goodman, the granddaughter of Jews who fled Russia for freedom and opportunity, embodied the principle of tikkun olam – Repair of the World – a principal of social activism. “Roz,” as many knew her, loved her family deeply and is remembered for the joy with which she approached her life and work. “This professional volunteer,” as she called herself, contributed to the Jewish world and the greater Montreal community through her tireless work for international organizations, universities, hospitals, libraries and museums.
In one of her many diaries, Roz expressed her wish to write the story of her life, which she referred to as “a wonderful ride.” Rather than putting other things on hold to work on an autobiography, Roz continued to add to her lengthy list of experiences and accomplishments right up until she passed away in 2014. Her daughter, Debbie, would be the one to cross “catalogue my blessings” off her mother’s to-do list, and we chose to title the book A Catalogue of Blessings.
Debbie contacted A Life in Print in 2015 to discuss her vision for a book that would honor and preserve her mother’s legacy. The task seemed daunting, she said. “Where do I even begin?” It was my job, I reassured her, to do the heavy lifting and guide her through the process. There would be hours of conversations, thousands of photographs to sift through, and numerous rounds of editing, I explained.
Fortunately, we had plenty of primary sources, boxes and boxes worth. Roz kept journals from her childhood until her death. She held on to clippings, invitations, greeting cards and other memorabilia. To add a variety of perspectives, family and friends were asked to relate favorite stories about Roz. Throughout the book we placed many of Rosalind’s well-known and beloved comments about all aspects of life that were lovingly referred to as her “Rozzieisms.” They are remembered with the warmth, wisdom and humor with which they were offered.
As I personally went through every page of every journal, I got to know this remarkable woman intimately. I earmarked pages and themes began to emerge. Those themes would become chapters: Family History, The Early Years, Family Life, Jewish Community and Philanthropy, and Friends. Roz was also a lifelong learner with many interests, which would lead to additional chapters, including Gardening, Interiors, Art, Books and Travel. Plus, she was a gracious hostess who opened her home to countless guests. Recipes and images of her beautiful “tablescapes” and enormous spreads became the basis of a section devoted to Entertaining.
I chose a writer who was knowledgeable about the culture and tradition Roz was immersed in and who would make Debbie feel comfortable in the process. As the writer conducted interviews and created the first draft, images were sorted, scanned and retouched, and the design began to come to life. My team worked closely with Debbie every step of the way. She quickly came to trust and enjoy the process and revisions and rewrites progressed smoothly. The result, A Catalogue of Blessings, is a nearly 500-page volume which is part biography and family history/part scrapbook and cookbook/and overall a tribute to a life well lived.
We were also tasked with completing the book in time for a fundraiser for The Lions of Judah, a worldwide organization of philanthropic Jewish women that was an integral part of Roz’s life. At the gala, guests were invited to take copies of the book home. To Debbie’s surprise and pleasure, they all did.
“A Catalogue of Blessings is a lasting treasure, which will be passed down from generation to generation. So many people have reached out to say how much they enjoyed the book.”
Deborah Goodman Davis
“Aside from being a magnificently beautiful book, my heart was filled by the words and images you compiled – with such love and care – about this remarkable woman . . .
“A book like this is a treasure – and you can easily see how it can not only spark memories in others, but also inspire commitment through the stunning example of another.”
Beth M. Mann, Vice President, Institutional Advancement, Jewish Federation of North America
“It is an amazing and beautifully written book . . .
“You did a wonderful job.”
Marc Weinstein, Head of Development at McGill
“. . . you wove all the stories, pictures, recipes, tributes and history together so beautifully.”
Judy, Family Friend
“It is a beautiful job, historically, emotionally . . .”
Kiki, Family Friend
A Life in Print is proud to have helped create this wonderful book.
We believe that everyone has an important story to tell, and it is our mission to help tell that story in a way that will reflect the history, the values and aspirations of each unique individual, and inspire others to see their life stories as vital, valuable and worthy of telling.