Florence Kolman Adler
Florence Kolman Adler
Florence Adler, 97, co-founder of the Valley Interfaith Council (VIC), dedicated her life to improving the lives of others. A social activist and longtime member of Temple Beth Hillel, Florence was committed to numerous worthy causes throughout her life that included not only VIC, but North Hollywood Food Pantry, the Fair Housing Council, the Jewish Peace Fellowship, and others.
Florence grew up in the Deep South after the Depression and soon became aware of the prejudice and discrimination of the times. Already a young girl, she was filled with passion and felt the importance, and obligation, to speak up and take action when she witnessed social injustice.
Florence moved to California as a young wife and mother of two, and continued to show her endless commitment and compassion to her community through many leadership roles in a myriad of programs and causes. In the early 60’s, Florence represented her congregation at a meeting in the Valley regarding a controversial fair housing issue. She could never have imagined this pivotal moment in her life, would put wheels in motion resulting in an organization that would, one day, impact the lives of thousands.
The organization was the Valley Interfaith Council (VIC), which Florence co-founded in Studio City, CA in 1964. The young organization initially struggled with limited resources, but with the fervor of purpose, the Valley Interfaith Council grew. VIC has evolved through the years to provide an array of social services while interfaith dialogue and social concerns brought together people from varying cultural and religious traditions for events such as the celebrations of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi; community forums, and an annual Hunger Walk.
Florence remained active in the San Fernando Valley and beyond, until her mid ‘90s. Over the years, Florence always gave credit to others. “I was good at community organizing. I had a talent for bringing people together but it takes everyone to get the job done”, she would say. Florence Adler’s remarkable legacy of improving the lives of others is spread over a lifetime of achievement, the impact of her work almost incalculable as it reaches through the years and will continue into future generations.
Without Florence’s vision and passion, Valley Interfaith Council would not exist today. And many of Florence’s earlier efforts –programs that organized clothes and food for civil rights workers in Alabama, to convoys of food supplies sent to victims of the Watts riots who were cut off from the city and hiding in their homes, to name but two –have impacted countless lives over the years.
Florence empowered all those who came to know her by the example she set. She put her faith into action. Her indefatigable spirit and consistent commitment to improving the lives of others continues to inspire and encourage people of all ages. When recognizing an injustice, she emboldened others to speak up, speak out, take action –each to create his or her legacy in their own community.
Today, thanks to pioneers and visionaries such as Florence Adler and others, Valley Interfaith Council is one of the major social service agencies in the San Fernando Valley providing programs and services for older adults and seniors. From all of us at the Valley Interfaith Council, and on behalf of all those we serve in our community, thank you Florence for all your dedication and hard work. You are missed and will always be remembered.