Edith Schapiro, 80, former ‘Jewish News’ reporter, dies

Edith Schapiro, 80, former ‘Jewish News’ reporter, dies

Edith Schapiro
Edith Schapiro

Edith Schapiro, a former reporter and editor at the forerunner to New Jersey Jewish News, died Jan. 6.

A resident of Montclair and New Paltz, NY, Schapiro passed away at her daughter’s home in New Paltz at the age of 80.

Mrs. Schapiro lived in Newark, Cedar Grove, and Montclair before moving to the Catskill/Hudson valley area of New York.

Edith Schapiro was born in Newark in 1929, the daughter of Bertha Ellins, a teacher, and Lewis Kravet, a stained-glass artist. She graduated from Weequahic High School, Douglass College, and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Among the first female TV reporters in New York City — appearing under her maiden name, Edith Kravet — Schapiro was a regular broadcast news reporter for Channel 11.

Shortly after graduating from Columbia University in 1953, she turned down an offer to report for The New York Times, feeling that it was more important to serve her community. She became a reporter at the Newark Evening News, was promoted to society editor, and went on to become the newspaper’s literary and theater critic.

That same year she married Jerome Schapiro, a chemical engineer and fellow alumnus of Weequahic High School.

Throughout her journalistic career, Schapiro maintained a close affiliation with CBS News, where she had begun work shortly after her undergraduate days. She officially left after the birth of her daughter in 1955, but continued to work there for much of the next decade.

In 1962, she assisted Edward R. Murrow with his speech that inaugurated Newark’s Channel 13 as a nonprofit educational television station that evolved into the PBS flagship WNET/Thirteen.

When her three children were young, Schapiro became a columnist for The Montclair Times, The Verona-Cedar Grove Times, and The Little Falls Herald, as well as serving as publicist for a number of nonprofit agencies. She was also founding editor for monthly publications at Temple Sholom of West Essex in Cedar Grove and later Congregation Shomrei Emunah in Montclair; she and her husband were active members of both synagogues.

She was a reporter for MetroWest Jewish News — the forerunner of New Jersey Jewish News — before becoming editor of its “Lively Arts” section from 1975 to 1978. After leaving the Jewish News, she created Spectrum, a supplement on Jewish youth that ran nationally and in the Jewish News. She also served as editor of the Morris/Sussex Jewish News during the mid- to late 1980s.

After her children went to college, she became the editor of the Jewish Community News of North Jersey and Greater Clifton-Passaic and wrote national columns for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

She was honored with a United Synagogues of America (now United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism) award for excellence in communication.

In the 1990s Mrs. Schapiro and her husband moved to the Catskills, where they created and ran the nonprofit Sullivan-Ulster Jewish Star. In 2000, she wrote and produced a television commercial for the Red Cross’ “Project Search,” a global effort that re-unites families separated by war and natural disasters.

She is survived by her daughter, Lois Cohn of New Paltz; her sons, Robert and Ken, both of Montclair; and six grandchildren.

The funeral service was held at the Jewish Memorial Chapel, Clifton, on Jan. 7.

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