Janet Rothenberg

Obituary
  • "missing you EVERYDAY. Not a day goes by where we all don't..."
  • "Mom, you were my best friend and ALWAYS will be. I love you..."
    - Debra Rothenberg
  • "Never knew this fascinating lady but from reading her obit,..."
    - PJ Shelley

ROTHENBERG
Janet, of Fort Lee, and formerly of Fair Lawn, NJ, and Philadelphia died on March 7, 2013 at the age of 81. She loved the songs of Jacques Brel, the plays of Eugene O'Neill, the singing of Frank Sinatra, the food of Il Cantinori, the capitals of Europe, and the politics of Franklin Roosevelt. But most of all, she loved her husband Marvin J. Rothenberg, whom she met when they were teenage summer camp counselors; the four children they raised together in Fair Lawn; their six grandchildren; and a social circle as big and open as her heart. Jeanette Dorothy Fives was born February 17, 1932 in northeast Philadelphia, the first child of Manuel Fives and the former Frieda Portnoy, who fled the pogroms and raised their four children surrounded by many loving aunts, uncles, and cousins. In an early display of restless independence, while still a schoolgirl Jeanette changed her name to the more modern Janet. Jan was inquisitive: Unable to attend university after graduating from Olney High School, she started William Paterson College when her children ranged from eight to 14, graduated in four years, and began a career as a high school English teacher immediately thereafter. She was brave, enduring the catcalls of neighbors to march against the Vietnam War long before it had become a broadly unpopular endeavor. She was compassionate, organizing a physical rehabilitation program for the impaired son of another member of the B'nai Israel synagogue's Sisterhood. She was ambitious, earning a master's degree from New York University at age 60 and starting a second career in arts education, managing the Doing Art Together program at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, then a third career as producer of the off-off-Broadway musical "Kurt Weill on Broadway." As Jan joins the Fair Lawn friends and Philadelphia family who passed before her, she leaves behind her beloved Marv, her best friend for 64 years; her children and their spouses, Debra Rothenberg and Philip Carvalho, Stuart and Talya Rothenberg, Craig and Diane Rothenberg, and Randall Rothenberg and Susan Roy; grandchildren Elana, Dania, Jake and Matty Rothenberg and Dylan and Lauren Rothenberg; brothers Marvin Fives and David Fives and sister Ilene Kaplan and their families; and many cousins. Jan lived the American Dream: Born poor in the Depression, she grew to enjoy a culturally, intellectually, and emotionally rich life, whose enthusiasms she shared willingly. Although she can no longer sing along to the Milkman's Matinee or drive her offspring to fencing matches, lacrosse games, and drama rehearsals, she lives on in her grandchildren, who inherited her good humor and kind heart. Services will be 11 AM Sunday at the Robert Schoem Menorah Chapel, W- 150 Rt. 4 (East), Paramus, NJ, followed by internment at Cedar Park Cemetery in Paramus. Memorial donations can be made to the Alzheimer's Foundation of America, 322 Eighth Ave., 7th fl., New York, NY 10001; The Jewish Home at Rockleigh, 10 Link Drive, Rockleigh, New Jersey, 07647; or the Kaplen Adult Reach Center, Kaplen JCC on the Palisades; 411 East Clinton Ave., Tenafly, NJ 07670.
Funeral Home
Robert Schoem's Menorah Chapel
W-150 State Route 4 (East)
Paramus, NJ 07652
(201) 843-9090
Funeral Home Details
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Published in The Record on Mar. 8, 2013
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