A Library for Mom
Ruth J. Weiss: On Her Second Yahrzeit
By Shulamis Rabinowitz
Mom was born in Williamsburg Brooklyn in 1927. Ruth Josowitz was born to immigrant parents who worked long hours in a tie factory. Mother was the oldest of three children and much of their nurturing and guidance came from her. She was responsible for making the supper, helping her siblings with their homework and guiding them through the vicissitudes of Jewish life in the ‘30’s in New York City.
Diligence in her studies earned her high marks throughout high school. In addition to her regular high school program, my mother traveled far to attend Hertzlia Jewish High School. After she finished high school she went on to City College to earn her masters degree in teaching. She also earned her Hebrew teaching degree from the Jewish Theological Seminary. Later, she earned her masters in psychology and counseling. Books and education plus a hefty dose of diligence and perseverance helped her to succeed and break out of the shackles of the immigrant lifestyle. She was always very grateful for the opportunities that she had.
Mom was up early every day; prepared supper and was out the door by 8:30. In the afternoon she taught at Hebrew schools at Emmanuel Synagogue. For many years she tutored bar mitzvah boys in reading Hebrew before they learned their bar mitzvah portion. She was an expert at Hebrew reading and was especially helpful with students who had difficulty with the language or who had a learning disability. She thrived on helping others come closer to their Jewish heritage. She knew five languages.
Her priorities were always very clear. Being Jewish and observant were critical to her identity. And education, she felt, was the key to Jewish survival in the diaspora. She worked for the Hartford Board of Education for over 40 years and taught Hebrew school. Later on in life (until the age of 80), she taught Hebrew at Tikvah Chadosha Synagogue in Bloomfield.
Her love for learning served her well. As an older adult she attended Dr. Markowitz’s Hebrew language class into her 80’s. She was an avid reader especially of self-improvement methods, Torah psychology and, of course, the Jewish press. She was always trying to improve the lives of others through knowledge.
Mom was an inspirational and caring member of the West Hartford community for over 50 years. She appreciated all the services available to seniors in West Hartford and the Jewish Federation lunches and book delivery to her house when she wasn’t well.
She became part of Chabad later in life. She was very inspired by the Lubavitcher Rebbe and frequently wrote letters looking for his advice and blessings. She was part of the Chabad synagogue led by Rabbi Gopin for many years. She was very impressed with how they got started from nothing and succeeded in making themselves part of the West Hartford community.
She was part of a single woman’s support group for divorcees and widows. They would meet and eat and discuss something inspirational from the parsha of the week. Later on in life she became a ba’alat teshuva after following me to Israel and returning to her rich Jewish heritage.
Mom was very happy to come and live with us in Monsey, a vibrant Orthodox community, and attended Jewish education classes until her last year of life. She was rich in Jewish knowledge and it served her well. She enjoyed many a Shabbos and Yom Tov with our family until she passed two years ago of natural causes.
Mom’s true success was passing down to the next generation our precious heritage. And she has grandchildren learning and living in Israel.
She was buried according to her wishes in Beit Shemesh, Israel.
In honor of my mother’s lifelong love for learning and Yiddishkeit, our family has donated the library at my daughters’ school in Monsey. This summer Bais Yakov of Chofetz Chaim is building a library in their new building. All donations in honor of my mother, Rivka bas Yakov, can be sent to BYCC, 44 Camp Hill Road, P.O. Box 704, Pomona NY 10970.
It was with books she succeeded and with a library in her name her legacy of learning and teaching will continue to stand in her merit.
May all her efforts on behalf of others be remembered and her kind soul blessed forever!
Anyone with any stories or memories of Mom can send them to me firstname.lastname@example.org. They would be greatly appreciated!!