To say that Dorothy Roth was “one of a kind” is a statement that she might not agree with. Because, she would say, every person is “one of a kind”; every human life is precious, and unique. And that was certainly one of the guiding stars she lived by. But for Dorothy, as you all know, it was true in a very special sense that she was “one of a kind.”

My connection to Dorothy was initially through the Institute for Jewish-Christian Understanding of Muhlenberg College, of which Dorothy was a loyal participant and supporter almost from the moment of its founding. At the very first public lecture that we sponsored, in the fall of 1989, Dorothy was present, and for some reason I asked her if she needed a ride home. Perhaps she had turned her ankle or something of that sort and was limping a bit. She accepted, and on that brief ride – as you know, it isn’t very far from the Muhlenberg campus to the Roth home on 24th Street – I got a clear impression of the irrepressible and in some sense irresistible person that Dorothy was.

She remained active in the affairs of the Institute from that time onward, all the way down to the weeks and months just before her last illness. She was a proud representative of her own Jewish tradition, and an eager learner about the faiths and practices of others.

It was in 1992, I believe, that the Institute sponsored an interfaith trip to Israel, a “Journey of Understanding” as we called it. Dorothy served as co-chair of the trip, together with Rev. Bill Seaman of the Lehigh County Conference of Churches (who is here today). And I remember her saying that though she had been to Israel many times before, she felt that she understood and appreciated it even more deeply now that she had seen it also through the eyes of Christians.

I used the word “irrepressible” about Dorothy. I could also use the word “indomitable.” She was a fighter for so many good causes, and she fought to win! There were many battles still ahead, I’m sure, from which she has prematurely been removed. We will miss her pugnacious and tenacious, almost bulldog-like grip on issues that she took up. She wouldn’t take “Who cares?” for an answer, and she could smell phoniness ten miles away.

Dorothy was, of course, famous as a writer of Letters to the Editor. Many of you no doubt know that our local paper, the Morning Call, has a policy that it will not print another letter from the same person until at least 30 days have elapsed. Dorothy would carefully keep track. “It’s been 27 days,” she would say, “and I hope to hear from the paper on Monday that they will print my next letter.” Her letters were always clear, always cogent, and always on issues of genuine importance.

Dorothy will be sorely missed, not only by her family and friends, but by this whole community. There will be a void in our civic life due to her absence.

So, we are filled with sadness at her passing, but let us also be filled with gratitude for her irrepressible, indomitable spirit – for her deep affirmation of all that is beautiful and noble in human life, and her fervent opposition to all that is demeaning or unjust. There is no better way for us to honor her memory than to continue to live with the joy with which she lived, and to struggle for the causes for which she struggled.

Dear Dorothy, we will miss you so much. May God bless you, and may you rest in peace.