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Ruth Rosenfeld Ezekiel, 79, Activist, Teacher and Holocaust Survivor

November 19, 2009
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Ruth R. Ezekiel
Ruth Rosenfeld Ezekiel, 79, an activist, teacher and Holocaust survivor, died Nov. 10. She was a longtime resident of East Oak Lane.

Born in Adelsheim, Germany, in 1930, Ezekiel and her two older sisters moved to Aachen, when Jewish children were no longer permitted to attend school in Adelsheim. She recalled walking to school as Kristallnacht raged, only to become frightened by the violence and return home to her aunts. Shortly after, her parents sent their three eldest children on a Kindertransport to England.

In 1947, Ezekiel immigrated to Washington, D.C., where she joined her brother. Her sisters immigrated to the United States shortly after. The five Rosenfeld children reunited in Washington, re-forming their family, as their parents had implored them before they were murdered at Auschwitz.

Ezekiel was the first in her family to attend college, earning a bachelor's degree in history and political science from the University of Maryland. She continued her studies at Temple University, earning a teaching certificate.

Ezekiel taught first grade for 27 years in Philadelphia, and for many years beyond that, as a volunteer at Lowell Elementary in Olney and at Wyncote Elementary. More recently, she was the community representative for the Northwest Regional Center of Community College of Philadelphia.

Ezekiel began her life of activism with the League of Women Voters shortly after she became a citizen in 1952. She was a member of the League until her death. First vice president and chairperson of the speakers bureau and voter services of the League of Women Voters of Philadelphia, she recently received its 50-Year Certificate when she was honored as its longest-standing active member.

Ezekiel is survived by her husband of 57 years, David Hirsch Ezekiel; daughters Tamar Granor and Rachel Ezekiel-Fishbein; son Aaron Ezekiel; sisters Bertl Esenstad and Esther Starobin; and nine grandchildren. She was predeceased by sister Edith Kaye and brother Herman Rosenfeld.

The family has created a library to honor Ezekiel's legacy. Donations can be sent to: Tiffany Conde at White-Williams Scholars, 215 S. Broad St., 10th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19107.

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