Lenell Goodman Ammerman

Picture: In Order From the Top - Bruce, Elaine, Seth, Lenell, Harvey

Lenell Goodman Ammerman, 1918-2001. She was born in Fond Du Lac Wisconsin, family moved to Milwaukee when Lenell started elementary school. Lenell graduated college from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and came to the Washington area to attend GW grad school. She had a career as an economist, working in the Department of Commerce as a financial analyst, being the 1st woman in that role in her department.

She was highly involved in social justice issues, ranging from the Civil Rights movement, to Women’s Rights, Environmental Protections, and the Reform Jewish Movement. She served as president of Temple Sinai in Washington from 1965 to 1967, only the 2nd woman to have served in that capacity at that time. She was a founding member of both the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ) and the American Reform Zionist Association (ARZA).

Among numerous awards and recognitions, she was the recipient of the Meritorious Service Award for the War Labor Board, 1945; founded the Ammerman Youth Fund, supporting efforts of Jewish college students, in 1966; and received the Woman of Valor award, State of Israel Bonds, 1971.

Her husband, who she met at GW, was Harvey Ammerman, a renowned neurosurgeon who practiced in Washington, D.C., and who was equally involved in social justice issues. As many people who knew Lenell as Harvey’s wife, knew Harvey as Lenell’s husband. She had 3 children, Elaine, Bruce, and Seth. She also raised 2 dogs along with her children: Mitzvah, a Weimaraner, and Dolly, a Dachshund.

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