Bette Young, 83, passed away Nov. 17, 2020 due to complications of COVID-19.

Mrs. Young was a lifelong student, steadfast advocate for social justice, and devoted mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, aunt and friend.

Resuming her college career in her mid 30s, Mrs. Young completed undergraduate studies at Oakland University in the Detroit area, and completed a master’s degree in American Jewish studies at the University of Michigan. Work on a Ph.D. culminated in the crowning achievement of her academic life, the publication of the definitive collection of Emma Lazarus’ letters, “Emma Lazarus in Her World: Life and Letters.” As a result of this research she was considered one of the world’s authorities on the subject.

The text was a primary source for the exhibit “Emma Lazarus: Poet of Exiles” at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in 2011.

A committed member of Temple Beth Shalom, she took great pride in having needlepointed one of the synagogue’s Torah covers.

She was also an accomplished knitter and seamstress, and made beautiful clothes for her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, as well as afghans for her nieces and nephews.

Possessing of a generous sense of humor, Bette delighted in hearing real human stories. She was a firm believer in fighting for what’s right. She never shied away from a strong commitment to social justice, teaching her children that some things are worth fighting for. The following passage, often attributed to the Talmud, perfectly captures her lesson: “Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.”

She was an active member of the Columbus Jewish Historical Society and enjoyed helping to preserve that rich history.

Preceded in death by husbands, Michael Young and Robert Roth; father, Richard Abel and mother, Gussie Seiden. Survived by daughters, Debbie (Michael Grimes) Roth Fay and Diane (Frank) Helbig; son, David Roth; sisters, Babette Feibel and Susan (Rolf Sauer) Maxman; step-sons, Jeff (Betsy Mahoney) Young and Marty Young; step-daughter, Janet Young; grandchildren, Jackie (Blake) Banks, Mackenzie Fay, Charlie Fay, Aaron and Macey Helbig and Noah Roth; great-grandchildren, Carter and Wyatt Banks; and many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

A private graveside service will be held Nov. 19 at Green Lawn Cemetery - Temple Beth Shalom section. A memorial service will be held at a later date at Kensington Place. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to COVID-19 response fund of Mt. Carmel Foundation at, or Columbus Jewish Historical Society at

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