Cover photo for Irene M Rosenberg-Amarel's Obituary
Irene M Rosenberg-Amarel Profile Photo

Irene M Rosenberg-Amarel

October 20, 1934 — May 22, 2024

Princeton, NJ

Irene M. Amarel died quietly in her home in Princeton, NJ on May 22nd, 2024. She was 89 and had been battling glioblastoma for a year and a half.

Irene was born on October 20th, 1934 in Newark NJ . Her father, Jacob Kaplan, had emigrated to the US as a young boy and had attained a law degree and later became a Rabbi. Jacob died when Irene was 13 and her mother Sade, supported the family which included, her beloved brother Daniel and older sister, Helen. 

Irene attended Weequahic High School and Graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Douglass College as an English major. After college, she taught high school English at Verona High School. She loved poetry and literature, captivating her students with her enthusiasm and passion. In 1957 she married Dr. Stanley Rosenberg. They had 2 children, James and Drew Ann. Although Irene and Stan divorced in 1971, they later became close friends along with their partners, Dave and Betsy. This was a great blessing for their kids and grandkids. 

In 1972, Irene attended Rutgers Law School and earned a Law Degree. Irene was a trailblazer and one of the leading female matrimonial lawyers in N.J. at a time when they were scarce. She was one of the first female members of the AAML, New Jersey chapter. This is an organization whose members take tests and must show high qualifications and are considered to be the crème de la crème from each state. She started her career working for the renowned firm of Skoloff and Wolfe and then practiced Family Law with the firm of Ulrichsen, Amarel & Freed. When that firm ended, Irene established a mediation practice. As an attorney, Irene was beloved by her clients, adversaries and co workers alike. She was a respected adversary, always vigorously promoting her clients’ interests, while maintaining the civility and graciousness that were her trademark. In 2002 she received the award from the Mercer County bar association for professional lawyer of the year. 

Irene loved to sing and had a beautiful voice. She sang throughout high school and college and often sang show tunes with her children, loving to harmonize with them. She often took her kids to musical theatre in NYC. Irene was an actress as well, attending classes in NYC and was cast in starring roles in many plays in the Princeton community. 

Irene married Saul David Amarel in Oct of 1990 and spent many happy years with him until he died in 2002. Irene loved to travel and took many trips with Saul all over the world. She collected beautiful pieces from her trips abroad and antique stores, decorating their home with style and elegance. Later, when she retired, she studied and became a Docent at the Princeton University Art Museum, allowing her passion for beautiful works to become a vehicle to educate others. One of her favorite 2 programs as a docent was leading tours for children from under-privileged neighborhoods. Schools would bus the kids to the museum and Irene was given the opportunity to excite them with the art from ancient civilizations. They would create their own drawings as well, which was especially fun. Irene was a huge dog lover and although she never had dogs as a child, was never without one or two as an adult. They attended all of her mediations! 

Irene also volunteered in many Community Organizations. She was Secretary of the Evergreen Society and active in the Glenn Neighborhood. She joined a book club, was a member of an acting troupe called the Senior Players and Nia, a dance group. An accomplished cook and hostess, Irene hosted many memorable dinner parties at her Princeton home. 

Irene met her partner, Dave Miller, in 2012. Dave is a musician and he and Irene loved to play and sing together and they loved to dance! One of their favorite times was the yearly Princeton festival, where they got to dress up in formal attire and cut the rug. Dave co-owned a property with his siblings in Glen Lake, Michigan and Irene joined forces with them and together they built a beautiful vacation home where they spent many happy summers, along with Dave’s kids and grandkids who often came to visit. Irene’s incredible style and elegance was always a topic for her many admirers. When she walked in a room, she captivated everyone with her beauty, sophistication, and charm. People felt honored to have her as a friend. When she was in her 80’s, younger women were blown away by her youthfulness and vitality. One woman asked her how she managed to look so young. She replied simply, “good posture”. Irene’s kindness, warmth, intelligence and wit will be remembered by many people whose lives she touched. 

She is survived by her partner, Dave Miller, her son, James Allen Rosenberg, daughter, Drew Ann Rosenberg, daughter-in-law Giovanna Holden, son-in-law, John Anderson and grandsons, Jeff, Dan Rosenberg, Sam Anderson and granddaughter-in-law, Kristin Mason. 

She will be very much missed by all of her friends and family. 

There will be a Celebration of Life Service on June 8th at 5 pm at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Princeton, 50 Cherry Hill Road, Princeton. All are welcome. 

Donations in honor of Irene can be made to

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