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Ruth Gruber – Unstoppable to 105

Gruber head shot JOAN ROTH

Photo of Ruth Gruber by Joan Roth

One of the last things Ruth Gruber did, slowed but unstoppable at 105, was to vote for Hillary Clinton. To observe the obvious, born in 1911, before women had the right to vote, she didn’t live long enough to see a woman president of the U.S. But she did help bend the arc of history with her camera, her words, and her passion for justice – most dramatically, by involving herself in Jewish rescue.

Ruth Gruber’s funeral, Sunday, November 20, filled B’nai Jeshurun synagogue on New York’s Upper West Side, near her long-time home on Central Park West, the twin towered, art deco Eldorado. (“El Dorado”—the legendary city of gold—seems an appropriate departure point for a fearless and adventurous woman.)

At the funeral, friends, family, and Rabbi Sally Priesand (America’s first ordained woman rabbi and the rabbi who officiated at Gruber’s second marriage) drew plenty of inspiration from Gruber’s life. In references to the current politics of fear, Gruber’s rescue of refugees was singled out as a challenge to all of us.

If this indefatigable woman had a role model, she or he went unnamed.