Tribute to Israel Rubin

from an obituary written by Barbara Rosenblum

Israel Rubin, a retired economist of Potomac, Maryland, and Tucson, died on November 12, 2000. A service honoring his memory and his many achievements was held on Sunday, January 14, 2001 at Congregation Chofetz Chayim, 5150 East Fifth Street, Tucson, AZ 85711.

[Read remarks delivered at Israel Rubin's memorial service and Kulanu President Jack Zeller's message]

Mr. Rubin had an unlimited passion for Judaism which fueled the flame for his many accomplishments and was exhibited as he pursued the Mitzvot of Tikun Olam (Repair of the World). During only six years in Tucson, he established and served as Kulanu Southwest's vice-president, the regional chapter of Kulanu "All of us" - a national organization dedicated to locating lost and dispersed remnants of the Jewish community and helping those who decide to reestablish ties to their Jewish heritage.

Together with J. E. Wright, Ph. D., Department Chair, Israel Rubin designed and developed Sekhel ve Lev (Mind to Heart), a successful University of Arizona Committee on Judaic Studies [now The Arizona Center for Judaic Studies] program that encourages life-long Jewish learning.

Mr. Rubin created the non-profit New Southwest Jewish Archives to assist in the coordination of Jewish archival materials in the Southwest and to help current organizations develop preservation programs for their materials as they relate to the history of Jews in the Southwest with particular emphasis on Tucson's Jewish community. Interviews with citizens from the former Soviet Union, local scientists and educators, and several of our community's rabbis are available through Special Collections at the University of Arizona.

Israel Rubin also served briefly on the Resettlement Committee of Jewish Family and Community Service.

At the time of his death, he was developing a "virtual" computer based program, "Lighting Candles in the Closet: The History of Conversos and Crypto-Jews," which highlights the historical events leading to the Spanish Inquisition, the subsequent expulsions of Jews from Spain and Portugal, and continuing right up to the present day in the American Southwest.

With his Yaqui "brother," Judge C. Lawrence Huerta and a group of interested Jews in Green Valley, AZ, he participated in the restoration of the Jewish Cemetery at Boot Hill in Tombstone, AZ.

Mr. Rubin was responsible for writing federal legislation which created The United States Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad. As a commissioner, he was involved with the restoration of cemeteries in Eastern Europe.

While employed at the U. S. Department of Commerce, he designed minority business opportunities for the Satmar Hassidim in New York City and created the WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) Health Care Program, an outreach facility that is currently administered by New York's Beth Israel Hospital.

Included among his many projects in Maryland is the nonprofit organization, "Advocates for the Enhancement of Long Term Care" to improve the conditions at the Hebrew Home of Greater Washington and other long term care facilities.

In Tucson, Israel Rubin was an active member of Congregation Chofetz Chayim. He often attended early morning services and participated in the daily minyan.

Israel Rubin was uniquely curious. His interests included astronomy, hiking the trails in Tucson's surrounding mountains, desert gardening, screenplay writing, reading and music of all kinds. His constant humming and singing brought much joy to those around him.

Survivors include sons Ronnie (Nancy) and David (Linda Luisi) of Potomac, MD, a daughter, sisters Blanche Shapiro and Ruth Brooks of New York City, three grandchildren, devoted friend and fiancee, Barbara Rosenblum of Tucson, AZ and many other dear friends and admirers.