In memory of Betty Reuben

“Betty Reuben passed away peacefully at home on February 13, 2023 at 1:50 a.m. after a full century of exuberant living focused on repairing the world, caring for her family and friends, celebrating the richness of the world’s cultures, and enjoying the beauty of nature.”

We recount here an abbreviated summary of Betty’s years in NCJW. She joined the Sacramento Section in 1986, chairing Sacramento Section’s Women in the Workplace project.

Betty was for 13 years, the voice of NCJW at the Capitol as State Public Affairs Chair. She helped pass a pioneering bill on Family Leave, a model for federal legislation. She chaired the California Women’s Legislative Roundtable and participated in the California Interfaith Coalition, demanding legislators maintain programs for women, children, and other disenfranchised people of all races and religions. Betty also chaired the section’s Public Affairs Committee.

Betty received the Hannah G. Solomon Award from NCJW Sacramento in 1998. This is our section’s highest honor, presented to someone who has changed the lives of others through leadership and service. The same year, she received a Resolution from the State Assembly for her “significant record of accomplishment on enhancing the quality of life of the community.”

In 2001, Betty cofounded, and until 2013, chaired Sacramento Section’s Family Shalom Committee, a response to domestic violence in the Jewish community, expanding it to address teen dating behavior, elder abuse, and human trafficking. Under Betty’s leadership, NCJW’s Family Shalom was a founding member and only Jewish representative on the Sacramento Domestic Violence Partnership of criminal justice and social service agencies and a partner in the national Rescue and Restore Coalition on human trafficking. (The Public Affairs and Family Shalom committees have since become our Advocacy and Education committee).

Chosen by NCJW Sacramento as our Outstanding Volunteer of the year in 2008, Betty received Hadassah’s Certificate of Merit.

NCJW (National), at our National Convention in 2014, conferred on Betty Reuben, the national Enduring Leadership Award for her decades of working to improve the lives of women, families and children.

As Sacramento mayor, Darrell Steinberg said a few years ago; “Wherever there is a gathering of people pushing for social justice, look to the front of that crowd: You’ll find Betty Reuben leading the way.”

Should you wish to honor her legacy, donations can be made to HIAS (aid to refugees), Planned Parenthood, National Council of Jewish Women Sacramento Section, or a charity of your choosing that, like Betty, uses mouth, mind, income, and energies to achieve social justice, feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, respect the common humanness of all, and express lovingkindness as a way of life.

Click here to view the Chesed Shel Emet email announcement sent by Congregation B’nai Israel to their congregational family.

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