TO HER EVERLASTING regret, Linda Forgosh was not born at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center or educated at Weequahic High School — two of the city’s leading institutions that prospered in its Jewish heyday.
Instead, she was born and raised in Woodbridge. But for 19 years her spiritual home has been in Newark, its Weequahic section, and her inspirations have been two of its most prominent citizens, department store impresario and philanthropist Louis Bamberger and novelist Philip Roth.
On Sept. 24, Forgosh — executive director of the Jewish Historical Society of NJ — was honored with the Newark Preservation and Landmarks Committee’s Charles Cummings Award for “her efforts to research, showcase, and preserve Newark’s history.”
“Hey, this is Newark,” she told NJJN following the ceremony at the First Baptist Peddie Memorial Church. “It doesn’t get any better than this.”
As he presented her with a silver plaque, Newark librarian and landmarks committee secretary Thomas Ankner said it was “fitting” that Forgosh received an award named for Cummings, the late Newark historian and assistant director of special collections and statewide outreach at the library, because of her voluminous research and exhibits dedicated to Newark’s Jewish community.
She told some 75 people at the historic church that she was especially proud of being named in 2015 an honorary alumna by the Weequahic High School Alumni Association, and her receipt of a letter from Roth praising her biography, “Louis Bamberger: Department Store Innovator and Philanthropist,” a work she dedicated eight years of off-duty hours to researching and writing.
“Will there be life after Bamberger?” she asked rhetorically. “For me there will always be a project that requires research,
research, and more research.”