Woman behind the ‘seen’

Weehawken resident honored at county celebration

You might know Carol Kravitz from around town – you may have enjoyed a cup of coffee with her at a Woman’s Club meeting, taken an art class with her at the high school, or seen her at a groundbreaking with the other members of Planning Board.
She’s one of those women who, if you take a moment to look, can be seen anywhere because she is behind the scenes everywhere.

“I try to raise awareness and I want to be a good citizen.” – Carol Kravitz
As a member of the Planning Board, Kravitz has to approve development that keeps the character of the neighborhoods, whether on the waterfront or in the heights. As President of the Woman’s Club she revamped the group to appeal to a wider audience, and as a town citizen she actively tries to spread civic love and pride.
For all of her efforts, both seen and unseen, to make Weehawken a special place to call home, Kravitz was one of 25 women honored at the William Brennan Courthouse in Jersey City during the county’s annual celebration of Women’s History Month in March.

It takes a ‘village’

When Kravitz, a native of New York City, decided to cross the Hudson and make a home for herself in Weehawken 15 years ago, she never realized just how sweet her new home would be.
But she eventually wound up living the life that her mother, who believed “you have to be part of a community,” had encouraged her to live.
“I got to know so many people,” said Kravitz. “It’s an incredibly well integrated community here. It’s a village. You can walk from one end to another in 15 minutes.”
Though she never intended to get involved in town politics, two weeks after she moved into Riva Pointe she attended the condo association’s annual meeting.
“I was working in Manhattan and didn’t have time for anything else,” said Kravitz. “I didn’t know anything about New Jersey; little by little I became integrated into the township.”
That meeting led to a meeting with the mayor and two years later to a spot on the town Planning Board.
The rest, she said, is history.

Heart and art

When she lived in New York, Kravitz estimates that she probably only knew three of her neighbors. In Weehawken, it’s a different story.
Not only does she know many more “neighbors” (extending way beyond those who live outside her doorstep), but after she retired from her 35-year career in the fashion industry in 2001, Weehawken became the place where she stepped away from the hustle and bustle to live out her dream.
These days Kravitz spends her time as an artist in her Union City studio located in the Yardley building. At night, she teaches drawing at Weehawken High School.
When she joined the Woman’s Club years ago, Kravitz was the youngest member of the group. She helped enliven the mission, reached out to new members, and connected with national and local causes.
Two years ago Kravitz became president and has helped lead the group’s efforts in everything from raising money for national charities to helping to pass laws to protect the Palisade hills.
As for her recent recognition from the county, Kravitz said it is humbling to be honored among presidents of colleges, hospitals, and shelters.
“I couldn’t believe it when I was told,” she said. “Me? What did I do to deserve this? Everybody tries to do something in a quiet way; I try to raise awareness and I want to be a good citizen.”

A message to women and girls

Freeholder Doreen DiDomenico, the chairwoman of the committee that runs the women’s history event, said that Kravitz and the 24 other women honored last month completely fit the bill of the type of woman the county wanted to honor this year.
“Women who are the backbone of their community,” said DiDomenico. “Not necessarily the women in the headlines, but the ones who are out there really doing the work.”
Each year the committee asks local officials for nominations for the annual award – based on a theme that varies each year – to recognize women from all municipalities within the county.
Beyond recognizing women making a difference, DiDomenico said the awards also offer an example up for the county’s young ladies as well.
“I think it’s a good message out there in the community,” she said. “I love the fact that we’re providing an example for them as well.”
Lana Rose Diaz can be reached at ldiaz@hudsonreporter.com.

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