Ruth Breslau Fein

August 30, 1927–February 18, 2024

by JWA Staff
Our work to expand the Encyclopedia is ongoing. We are providing this brief biography for Ruth Breslau Fein until we are able to commission a full entry.

Ruth Fein, at the tenth anniversary celebration of the Jewish Women’s Archive.

Ruth Fein had a distinguished career as the first woman at the helm of several prestigious organizations. Upon graduating from Goucher College, Fein did graduate work at Johns Hopkins University, where she met her husband, economist Rashi Fein. After they married in 1949, they moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where Rashi took a faculty position at the University of North Carolina. When he was asked to accept a position in Kennedy’s administration (and later in Johnson’s), Ruth and Rashi moved with their four children to Washington, D.C., then moved to Boston in 1968. There, Ruth became deeply involved in several regional and national organizations. She was the first woman to chair Combined Jewish Philanthropies and the first woman president of the American Jewish Historical Society, which named an annual prize in her honor. She is also a past president of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston and the United Way of Massachusetts. She was the founding president of the New England Holocaust Memorial Committee, founding chair of the Jewish Coalition for Literacy, and a founding board member of the Jewish Women’s Archive. Ruth Fein  served on the Board of Overseers of the Beth Israel/Deaconess Medical Center and received honorary doctorates from Hebrew College and Goucher College. She died on February 18, 2024.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Ruth Breslau Fein." (Viewed on April 15, 2024) <>.