Susan Reva Cohen Bierman

Susan Reva Cohen Bierman, beloved wife, mother, sister, grandmother, aunt and cousin, passed away peacefully on February 15, 2024, at the age of 84.

She is survived by her husband of 61 years, Arnold Bierman, her children Sara Rothfeder, Lisa Franklin (Jonathan) and Karen Moreno (Tony); grandchildren Josh Franklin (Claire), Casey Franklin (Gustavo), Cassidy Rothfeder, Austin Rothfeder, Carli Moreno, Tony Moreno and Ellie Moreno; her brother Steve (Gloria), and many beloved cousins and nephews.

A granddaughter of Lithuanian immigrants, Susan was born in Duluth, Minnesota on June 10, 1939 to Celia and Nathan Cohen. After her younger brother Steve was born, their family of four moved to Kansas City, where her dad took a job as the community relations director for the Jewish Community Council.

Susan’s roots in the Jewish community started then! Susan attended the University of Missouri where she majored in Journalism. While there, she became the first Mizzou Tiger mascot, catching the eye of her lifelong love, Arnold, who spotted her through binoculars at a football game. He said to his friend while looking at her, “She’s cute, short and possibly Jewish.” Their romance blossomed into a 61-year marriage filled with travel adventures, culinary delights, and shared passions.

Together, they traversed the globe, collecting beautiful glass treasures and mastering gourmet cuisines from around the world, even having the honor of cooking with Julia Child. Susan had a deep passion for genealogy and delighted in sharing stories of her parents and grandparents. Family reunions were celebrated occasions for her, where she took great joy in connecting her immediate family with relatives from around the world. Her dedication to family was not only inspirational but also a fundamental aspect of her life. Beyond her cherished roles as a devoted wife and mother, Susan was a trailblazer in the Jewish community.

She served as president of the Jewish Federation not once, but twice, leaving an indelible mark on the organization. Before she began her second term as president, she took on the role of interim executive director. No one else has served in both positions at the same time. Susan’s dedication to volunteerism and community extended to leadership roles in organizations such as Women’s American ORT, Seeds of Peace, the Central Florida Hillel Council and the Tampa-Orlando-Pinellas Jewish Foundation. She also served on the board of the Congregation of Reform Judaism and the Hebrew Day School, now the Jewish Academy of Orlando, where her daughter Karen and three of her grandchildren attended. Her passion for Judaism and Israel shone brightly through the numerous mission trips she embarked on with Israel Bonds and the Jewish Federation.

Among these journeys, the family’s mission to Israel in 1979 held a special place in her heart. Susan also loved the arts and the opera. She and Arnold took their young daughters to Broadway shows in New York City and Susan continued that love through her season tickets to shows at the Dr. Phillips Center. She was also a member of the Metropolitan Opera Guild and the Orlando Opera.

Funeral services for Susan will be held Monday, February 19, at 11 a.m. at the Congregation of Reform Judaism (928 Malone Drive, Orlando) with Rabbi Rachael Jackson and Rabbi Emeritus Steven Engel officiating. Interment will follow at Congregation of Reform Judaism Cemetery (9200 Morton Jones Road, Gotha).

Susan will be deeply missed by all who had the privilege of knowing her. In honoring her memory, let us strive to embody her spirit of generosity and kindness in our homes and communities.

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