Aileen Janet Ofer


Aileen Janet Ofer of Edgartown and Needham, a retired English literature teacher, died September 3 at the age of 90.

Aileen was born Aileen Kohn in Philadelphia and grew up in the New York City and Philadelphia areas, graduating from high school in West Chester, PA. She attended the University of Iowa and earned a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Columbia University in 1947. After graduate school, she worked for the State Department as Documents Officer for the US Mission to the United Nations, and was in Paris with the Eleanor Roosevelt-led US delegation in 1948 when the General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that had been framed under Mrs. Roosevelt’s leadership.

In the early 1950s she worked as a researcher for CBS News in New York, where she met Moshe Ofer, an official at the Israeli Consulate in New York. She married Moshe in 1954 and moved to Washington, D.C., with him when he was transferred to the Israeli Embassy there. In following years she moved with him to Jerusalem, London, and Zürich, arriving in Boston when he became Israel’s Consul-General there in 1968.

She then resumed her education, receiving a Master’s Degree in English Literature from Brandeis University. Beginning in 1972, she taught English language and literature at Northeastern University for over 20 years, except for a two-year period in 1983-1985, during which she joined Moshe for his last Israeli Foreign Office posting in The Hague, Netherlands.  When she returned to teach English at Northeastern, Moshe joined her there and taught Middle Eastern government and politics for the next ten years until they retired. They spent their retirement years living first in Newton, then Needham, as well as in Edgartown. Her loving husband Moshe died in 2006.

Aileen is survived by her son, David, and daughter-in-law, Leslie; granddaughters, Gabrielle and Sophia; brother, David Kohn, and his wife, Jeanette; niece and nephew, Nancy Getz and James Kohn, and their families, and numerous cousins.  Funeral arrangements are private.  Donations in her memory may be made to the Edgartown Public Library, 58 North Water Street, Edgartown, MA 02539.