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Monday, April 10, 2023
12:30 - 1:15pm (Eastern time)
Arnold Maier Kessler was born April 9, 1927 in Bethlehem, PA to Joseph and Dora Kessler, the youngest of four siblings, Natalie, Stanley, and Bernie. He passed on April 6th, 2023. Arnold’s life was defined by his commitment to family, faith, social justice, and becoming the president of any organization he joined. In 1945, he was drafted into the army, serving in Germany for a year. Infantry training in the South made him keenly aware of racial injustice. He attended Temple University and Law School at night on the GI Bill, leading to a successful career in civil litigation.
In 1958, he married Naomi Winston (“my best friend”) and they celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary just days before his passing. Arnold is survived by three children (Susan Kessler Ross, David Kessler and Carole Kessler Rosen) and seven grandchildren (Rebecca Rosen, Julia Ross, Rachel Kessler, Alana Rosen, Danielle Kessler, Adam Ross, and Miriam Rose Kessler).
Travel with family was a highlight. Five weeks driving across the US in a Buick Electra 225 with 3 kids, winters in Florida, a cruise to Alaska, and a celebration in Israel with the grandkids were treasured memories.
Arnold was an avid photographer; his favorite photo was the annual grandchild photo on the sofa. Arnold insisted that his three children talk weekly while in college. “Your friends may come and go; your family is on whom you can depend.”
Arnold was a beloved leader in the Philadelphia Jewish community. He was chairperson of the Young Adult Division of the Allied Jewish Appeal, founded the Young Men’s Council, and served as president of Jewish Family Service and his congregation, Beth Hillel-Beth El. “Because I am the president,” ended most disagreements. Arnold will serve as President of the Gates of Heaven.
As a leader of the Philadelphia Bar Association in 1974, he brought Jimmy Hoffa to speak to the organization because he believed Mr. Hoffa “gave voice to the little guy,” as attorneys should. He loved his work and was a respected litigator. He was most proud when a social injustice was corrected as the result of his efforts. We may never enjoy a Mrs. Smith’s pie, but it’s a safer place to work because of him.
In his later years, Arnold worried the world had become terrible. In truth, he had tremendous hope for the future. Extremes of political discourse disappointed him. Still, he trusted his children and grandchildren to make the world a better place. We shall miss him and make him proud.
Services will be at Temple Beth Hillel on Monday April 10, 2023, 12:30. A private interment will follow. Contributions in memory may be made to Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia or charity of choice.