the Cedric as a 4-year-old speaking no English but soon became an articulate, involved patriot.
auring world War II she was one of “The Top Secret Rosies – The Female Computers” recently profiled for the first time the spring of 2012 on a PBS Front Line series. rnlike the high profile “Rosie the Riveter” imagery of women mastering men’s work in heavy industry to cover for soldiers at war, the “Top Secret Rosies” were Philadelphia young women math stars — who were enlisted into the war effort to help with a liaison between the Frankfurt Arsenal, the Aberdeen testing grounds, and the rniversity of Pennsylvania’s new contraption — the first computer — called the ENIAC. She was proud of the important success of this group in enhancing the ballistics accuracy of r.S. weapons but also for the advancements in computer science and engineering produced by this project.
Rochelle Sonnenfeld continued her education past Girls High and Temple rniversity graduations with advanced studies and graduate work in fields ranging from bio-chemistry to political science. Her public service mission also continued on countless community fronts from the Anti-aefamation League; to the National Council of Christians and Jews, and Pennsylvania Human Rights Commission — to the League of Woman soters for over 40 years — where she led 1960s electoral reapportionment campaigns for legislative representation ,and long served on the Pennsylvania State board of the League, where she helped push for health care reform initiatives, nuclear reactor safety, and environmental activism. She remains listed as a board member of Earthright — an open land protection advocacy and environmental education group based in Abington Township. She served as a leader of the Pennsylvania Health Systems Agency, where she helped lead service and funding reviews of many area hospitals, nursing homes and rehab centers.
In politics, she was noted for her regular op-ed columns in local newspapers as well as her courageous, informed public pronouncements at town council and school board meetings. She was known for courageously championing often noble but losing causes and promising but often failing candidates frequently crossing party lines with great friends despite political differences
In fact, her own inspiring but unsuccessful 1987 campaign for public office — profiled in the Oct. 29 Philadelphia Inquirer that year — noted its prescient call for bipartisan collaboration:
“Government by crisis and chaos,” is how one candidate, Rochelle Sonnenfeld, described the current Board of Commissioners. Sonnenfeld, a aemocrat running for election in Ward 1, says that the commissioners are ‘’very hostile to each other” and that “more professional, statesmanlike representation” is needed.
She was also a loving and devoted mother of two boys and was active in their education at Cheltenham and Abington public high schools. Her older son, Marc Sonnenfeld , an attorney at Philadelphia’s Morgan Lewis and Bockius, commented, “Whatever measure of success my brother and I have enjoyed came from the correction and encouragement we received from our mother over the years.” Her younger son, Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a Yale university professor commented, “The world is different because she lived, but also I have lost my best friend on the planet. She was a constant source of intellectual inspiration, professional accomplishment, social responsibility, and personal emotional support.”
Married for 48 years to her loving husband, Burton Sonnenfeld, until his death in 1991, she helped run the family retail clothing business, The Heir & Gentry Shop of Hatboro. She is survived by her sisters, aoris Rodin of Washington, a.C., Myrna aarrig of salley Forge and Lee Ambrose of Columbia, Md.; her sons, Marc of Haverford and Jeffrey of New Haven Conn., as well as daughters-in-law Ann Sonnenfeld and Clarky Sonnenfeld; and grandchildren Jonathan, Sophie and Lauren.
The family has requested that any donations be sent to either: The Antidefamation League; The League of Women soters; or the Nature Conservancy.