April 27, 2010
Ruth Nussbaum, Zionist, activist and famous rebbetzin dies at 98
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Five years ago, ARZA conferred a prestigious award on Ruth Nussbaum, and on the occasion, Rabbi Stanley Davids, then the organization’s president, lauded the honoree.
“Ruth played a pivotal role in helping to reshape the Reform view of Zionism,” The Journal quoted Davids. “She sees the need for pluralism and democracy in Israel; to her, these are Reform Jewish values. To her, Jewish nationalism is a seamless and natural aspect of Reform Jewish identity.”
Gabriel Nussbaum added to the portrait in an interview. “Ruth felt strongly that the civil rights movement was the American parallel to Jewish Zionism, and both she and Max fought tirelessly for racial equality in the United States,” he said.
In 1965, the Nussbaums welcomed the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to the pulpit of their temple.
Gabriel Nussbaum is a New York filmmaker and has spent years interviewing his distinguished grandmother; he said he expects to release a documentary on her life and times in about a year.
Ruth was a meticulous organizer and archivist, and she left precise instructions for her funeral service, designating Rosove, and Professors Lewis Barth and William Cutter of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, to deliver the eulogies.
She further requested excerpts from Brahms’ “Requiem” as part of the musical presentation, and that psalms be recited in Hebrew, not English.
She was equally firm that Eshet Chayil, the Woman of Valor verses from the Book of Proverbs, frequently recited or sung at the funerals of notable women, be omitted from her service.
Ruth Nussbaum is survived by her daughter Hannah Marsh of Los Angeles, son Jeremy Nussbaum of New York, grandchildren Margaret Sinai, Daniel Marsh, Lily Nussbaum and Gabriel Nussbaum, four great-grandchildren and two nieces, as well as numerous cousins in Israel.
The family requests that any memorial donations be made to the Rabbi Max Nussbaum Fund, Temple Israel of Hollywood, 7300 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90046. The fund provides scholarships for study in Israel and the presentation of annual scholarly lecture.
SLIDESHOW ON PAGE 3, EULOGY BY RABBI JOHN ROSOVE OF TEMPLE ISRAEL (FROM THE FUNERAL ON APRIL 29) ON PAGE 4