Photo: Marcia Koven (left) giving a museum tour, 1989. Credit: The New Freeman.
A native of St. John, New Brunswick, Marcia Koven has been a lifetime volunteer with numerous charitable groups, including Hadassah-WIZO, the Canadian Cancer Society, and the Heart & Stroke Foundation; cultural groups, including the New Brunswick, and the Canadian Jewish Historical Societies, and Kiwanis; as well as Atlantic region hospitals. A bridge-builder among communities, she has been active in her synagogue, active on the Chevra Kadisha for many years, and taught Sunday school. Among many honours, she received the Caring Canadian Award in 1999 and the Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 2011.
An avid scholar in multiple disciplines including nursing, sociology and museology, and with a lifelong interest in history, Mrs. Koven created the Saint John Jewish Historical Museum to preserve the history of the Saint John Jewish community. This is the only Jewish Museum in the Atlantic Provinces and attract thousands of visitors, Jewish and non-Jewish, from around the world. One of the mandates of the Museum is education. Mrs. Koven has addressed numerous students and other interested groups about the history and culture of the Jewish community.
Marcia Koven believes that education is most important for the elimination of discrimination. She was responsible for the creation of the Jewish Education Outreach Kits provided on loan to schools and churches, created to introduce non-Jewish teachers and students to another culture, with the belief that, by fostering an understanding, progress will be made to eliminate prejudice and ignorance.