Remembering Ruth Gruber


Your fine article on Ruth Gruber could not possibly include all the ways in which this amazing woman impacted the world, so I should like to add a few words about her efforts on behalf of Ethiopian Jews (“100 Years Of Asking Questions,” Nov. 25).

One day, shortly after Operation Moses, the 1984 airlift of Ethiopian Jews out of Sudanese refugee camps, Ruth called me at my office in NACOEJ, the North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry, to say she wanted to go to Ethiopia with the next NACOEJ mission.

I had never heard of Ruth, and when she told me she was a journalist, I hesitated. I was wary of taking journalists to Ethiopia lest they write something that would endanger the Jews we met, or stop the then-Communist government from (reluctantly) allowing us to visit their villages.

But when I called my contact at the Israeli Consulate in New York, I was told, “She was the only journalist we trusted to see the Jews landing in Israel in Operation Moses.”

Ruth went with us on two missions, joined our board and remained involved in the aliyah and integration of Ethiopian Jews into Israeli life, writing and lecturing about them, for the rest of her days.

Like all her friends, I felt privileged to be part of her life. She not only recorded history, but made it. The world is a better place for Ruth Gruber’s 105 years in it.

NACOEJ Executive Director