Ruth Bromberg passed away peacefully on Feb. 8, 2023, surrounded by her family and friends in her Riverdale home of 70 years.
She was 93.
Born in Strasbourg, France in 1929 to Renee and Jules Metzger, she had written about having had a happy childhood playing in the river with friends and making the rounds with her mother to the cheese store, the fish store, and with the dressmaker and the hatmaker. When asparagus was in season, they would visit the local restaurant whose specialty was freshly pickled white asparagus.
She recalled witnessing the buildup of German troops across the Rhine, and when World War II broke out, her Jewish family relocated several times to avoid capture.
She wrote: “I want you to understand, I had it easy. I don’t put myself in the same category as the Jews who were in the concentration camps and death camps. I don’t have a number on my arm, and I didn’t witness the terrible tortures that took place in the camps.
When the war ended, she studied in Paris, then came to the United States to attend Columbia University, where she graduated in 1952 with a degree in English literature. A blind date with third-generation New Yorker, Howard Bromberg, led to the couple’s marriage in 1952.
Despite having experienced the desperation of war, she remained a beacon of warmth and kindness and touched the lives of many. She helped found a Riverdale homeless shelter and led a community effort to hand out sandwiches and clothing to the needy at the West 242nd Street subway station. She mentored students and newcomers to the states.
She organized trips to Montefiore Hospital to walk the corridors and offer support to patients. She was a frequent presence at pro-Israel demonstrations. She arranged for the planting of trees throughout Riverdale, and saved a few from chainsaws.
Always striving for self-improvement, she took up transcendental meditation and yoga in the 1970s. She was an avid reader and, with her husband and friends, took full advantage of New York City’s cultural scene, attending opera, ballet, theatre and classical music recitals.
Staying connected to her French roots, she was a long-time member of the Alliance Francaise.
Her greatest pride was her family. Her daughter, Viki, performed with the New York City Ballet. Her son, Ron, was a professional tennis player. Her daughter, Jill, founded a successful home-organizing business.
In addition to her children, she is survived by her grandchildren Nico, Sam, Emma, Simon, Oliver, and step-grandchildren Sarah and Michael.
She will be missed by many, in Riverdale and beyond.
The Riverside Memorial Chapel in Manhattan handled her arrangements.
Donations in her name can be made to the Maharat Rabbinical School at YeshivatMaharat.org, or the Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School at YCTorah.org.