Dr. Ruth Peles Rubinstein
Dr Ruth Peles Rubinstein passed away at age ~90 from complications of Alzheimer’s disease on 12/27/19. She is survived by her children, Jon (Vero Beach, FL), Jay (Seattle, WA) and Sari (New York, NY) Rubinstein, grandchildren, Luca (Reno, NV) and David (Seattle, WA) Rubinstein and Clementine Thomas (New York, NY), as well as her sisters Miri Kesten (New York, NY) and Kohava Arieli (Kiryat Shlomo, Israel) and her large extended family in Israel and the US.
She was born in Jerusalem, British Mandate Palestine on May 13, 1929, or 1930, at home, to Sara Kalderon Peles and Eliezer Peles. She was one of nine children in a strictly orthodox home. She was not predisposed to religion and ran away from home to evade an arranged marriage and to train as a spinal cord injury nurse in the British Hospital in Beit Safafa, outside Jerusalem. There she served secretly in the Lehi, and later in the Israel Defense Force after the founding of the state. With no small irony or shortage of chutzpah, after meeting and marrying her husband, Marv Rubinstein in Israel, she moved to London and worked there as a nurse in the early 1950s. Then they moved to New York City where she became a psychiatric nurse at Bellevue Hospital prior to the birth of her three children. She mostly quit nursing and obtained a PhD in Sociology from Rutgers University while raising three young kids. While writing her dissertation, she was the camp nurse at Camp Thoreau in Wallkill, NY during the summers from 1969 to 1974. She later served on the faculty of the Fashion Institute of Technology for many years retiring as Professor of Sociology. She and Marv divorced in the 1970s. She never remarried.
Dr Ruth loved her work. Her research was on the sociology of fashion and she wrote two scholarly books on the subject: Dress Codes: Meaning and Messages in American Culture (Taylor & Francis, 1995; 2001), and Society’s Child: Identity, Clothing and Style (Westview Press, 1999). She was a founding member of Sociologists for Women in Society. She was multilingual, speaking Ladino, Hebrew, Arabic and English. She was fond of vacationing in Mexico where her Ladino was easily understood by puzzled Spanish-speaking staff who wondered what this “strange Spanish” was and where this American woman had learned it.
She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2015 and moved from her beloved lower west side of Manhattan to Seattle where she spent over four years at Mirabella. In that time, Jay could never convince her that Lake Union was not the Hudson river ☺. She will be missed.
Jon, Jay, and Sari;
What a beautiful write-up of Ruth’s life. I remember Ruth very well from Thoreau. She was always patient, loving, and indulging of my teenage hypochondria: one year with Pine Brothers Honey or Cherry cough drops, another year with green acne-fighting nighttime face masque that my best friend Jodi Schartoff and I donned each evening after evening activity and then parade back to the double-bunk as if two two attention seeking aliens.
I remember Ruth’s exuberance during folk dances as well. She packed a lot of energy in her small body.
I know Alzheimer’s all too well. My mother died of the same. I’m so sorry for the pain of that devastating disease must have caused all of you. I hope that precious memories, the funny to the banal, give you each comfort and warm your heart at this very sad time.
Carrying vivid and heartwarming memories of all of you during this very sad time.
Love and hugs to each of you.
Thoreau ‘70-‘74, ‘76, ‘77
Leslie (Engel) Creane
I thought I knew Ruth so well, but I learned more about her than I ever knew from her obituary. She was always an inspiration to me. I owe my choice of profession and passion for cooking to Ruth. Her passing makes me very sad.
MY AUNT RUTH AMAZEING BOUNDLESSAND SUPER BRIGHT.OUR CHATS ARE DINNERS IN N.Y.C BEYOND FUN.OUR LONG CHATS. FAMIL PARTYS. MY SPOUSE F.I. T GRAD.IN TEXT BOOKS.HER KINDNESS TO MY GREAT GRAMA MARV MOTHER.MY DIVA GRAM HIS SISTER MY MAMA MARVS 1 ST NIECE SILVIA.DR.RUTH BOTH EXPECTANT MOTHERS SAME TIME I ST BORN SONS.HER GENIUS SONS THEATRICAL SARI INTERESTING . SHE TOUCHED MY HEART AND WELSH JEWISH SOUL MORE DUE TO HER LUV.SHE SAW ME IN 27 HEAVEN SOUTH BEACH COLONY THETER THEN BROADWAY BOUND!!OUR INVITE TO CHRISTYS 2011 AUCTION DANE ELIZABETH T.THEY KNEW HER.I WAS IMPRESSED. TOTALLY. I LUV HER ETERNALLY
- Rich burtonjr.
Best wishes, hugs and kisses to you each and all. Jon, Jay Sari and your families.
- Daniel Millstone