Nov. 7—JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — Beth Sholom Congregation has lost one of the pillars of its community, Dr. Lawrence "Larry" Rosenberg, a well-known local philanthropist, supporter of the arts, caregiver and advocate for children.
He died on Thursday, at age 72, following an extended illness.
Rosenberg, the husband of Barbara (Foshee) Rosenberg, was involved with the local Jewish congregation since the 1970s, serving as president for more than two decades until his passing.
"Beth Sholom Congregation extends its sincere sympathies and heartfelt condolences to Barbara Rosenberg and to the entire Rosenberg and Foshee family on the passing of our long-standing and valued President," according to a statement provided by the board of directors, Rabbi Irvin Brandwein and staff. "Larry's decades of devotion and dedication made a significant, meaningful and lasting difference, and his leadership will be missed. May his memory be a blessing."
As a leader of the synagogue, Rosenberg helped maintain the congregation and building located in Westmont, honored members for their accomplishments, hosted visiting clergy, wrote a regular column in the bulletin and chanted daily prayers.
He also served as president of Penn State University Hillel's Board of Trustees.
"There was nothing he wouldn't do," said Barry Rudel, a member of the congregation's board and historian.
Rudel called Rosenberg "a natural leader" who made the congregation "a better place."
Rosenberg came to the area after the 1977 Johnstown Flood.
He grew up in Dobbs Ferry, a village outside of New York City, before studying pre-med at Penn State, graduating from New York University Medical School and doing a pediatric residency in Denver. Rosenberg, a Westmont resident, wanted to live in a small community, according to his granddaughter, Dr. Rebecca Rosenberg, who is also a pediatrician.
"He loved that," Rosenberg said. "He always said that. That was his goal in moving to Johnstown originally. He came from the New York City area. He was raised there. But he specifically chose to move to a small town because he thought he could make a bigger difference there."
Larry Rosenberg worked as a pediatrician locally for 45 years, practicing with Karl Berger and Bradley Drennan at Franklin Pediatrics for much of that time, while also chairing Conemaugh Hospital's credentials committee.
He supported Band of Brothers Shakespeare Company, United Jewish Federation of Johnstown, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and Mountain Playhouse. Rosenberg also served as an adviser to the Pennsylvania Governor's Council for Child Abuse, providing expert testimony in legal cases.
"He was just a very caring, kind, protective type of person," his granddaughter, Laila Copeland, said. "I think he just wanted to help people."
Rebecca Rosenberg said her father "modeled the importance of giving, which is a tenet of Judaism called tzedakah; same with service, which is covered in a concept called tikkun olam."
Rosenberg is survived by his wife, Barbara (Foshee) Rosenberg.
He was the father of Brian Foshee, Becca Rosenberg, Idra Rosenberg and Daniel Foshee, along with being a grandfather to Caleb, Gavin, Laila, Jordan, Boaz and Zazo.