On Jan. 10, Marcia Joan Jaffe (née Weissman), prominent educator and cofounder of the Student Group on Race Relations, at age 85. Jaffe was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York to the late Adolph Weissman and Goldie Weissman Benjamin. She attended Erasmus Hall High School, then Brooklyn College for her Bachelor’s in Education, then John Carroll University for her Master’s in Learning Disabilities and Special Education. In the mid 1950s, Marcia met Stanley Jaffe at a softball game. She was taken with Stanley’s confidence and outgoing personality, and the two were wed in 1957. Marcia was a gifted and beloved educator of elementary and high school students. She co-founded SGORR, the Student Group on Race Relations, at Shaker Heights High School in Shaker Heights, Ohio, where she was a seminal influence on the lives of countless generations of students. When Marcia and cofounder Zachary Green met with a small cohort of students in 1983, their goal was to create a space in which interracial friendships would be celebrated and maintained. These SGORR pioneers noted with disappointment the disintegration of diverse friendships as students entered their middle school years and sought to change this trend by educating elementary school students about race and human relations. Through the years, SGORR has grown from a group of fewer than 15 students to a membership of over 250, the largest student club at Shaker Heights High School. Though the faces have changed and many students have come and gone, SGORR’s mission has remained constant: to celebrate and teach about diversity and human connections across all boundaries of difference. She was the recipient of numerous awards and honors for her commitment to diversity through SGORR, including the Ohio Governors Award and, in 2002, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Award for Human Relations presented by the Human Rights, Commission of the City of Shaker Heights, Ohio. Even on her own personal time, Marcia devoted herself to the Sunday evening SGORR leadership meetings, where student leaders would gather at her and her husband’s home to develop the curriculum for the programs they would bring to fourth and sixth grade students. Marcia will be remembered for her commitment to diversity and tolerance, and for her passionate ability to form and foster personal relationships. With her family or with her students, she had an uncanny ability to give totally focused, one-on-one attention to whomever she might be speaking with, and through this skill she changed lives. Jaffe will be missed greatly by her loving family, coworkers, students, and friends. She is survived by her husband of 62 years Stanley Jaffe; children David Franklin (Brenda) Jaffe, Andrew Paul Jaffe, and Steven Richard Jaffe; sibling Alan (Fani) Weissman; grandchildren Micah Benjamin Jaffe, Eli Aaron Jaffe, Neal Thomas Aultman, and Rachel Marilyn Aultman (fiancé James Hutzler); sister-in-law Irma Becker; and nieces Ellen Diamond, Carol Sherman, Andrea Bergman, and Michelle Feig. Mrs. Jaffe was predeceased by her parents Adolph Weissman and Goldie Weissman Benjamin (née Bush).
Contributions may be sent to Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, 1359 Broadway Suite 1509, New York, NY 10018 or Michael J. Fox Foundation, c/o Donation Processing, P.O. Box 5014, Hagerstown, MD 21741-5014.

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