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Henry Street’s Ruth Taube Named a Lower East Side Community Hero

By Henry Street Settlement

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Ruth Taube, who has worked at Henry Street Settlement for nearly 48 years (!), was honored as a Lower East Side Community Hero on Sunday, May 3, 2014. The ceremony took place at Pier 42 during a community event to launch Lower East Side History Month.

The award was presented by David Garza, Executive Director of Henry Street, and Lori K. Weissman, Director of Touring at the Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy. Both organizations jointly nominated Ruth, who was one of five heroes selected by a committee comprised of community leaders and residents.

Ruth is currently the Director of Henry Street’s Home Planning Workshop, where she teaches neighborhood residents to sew, crochet and knit, and also operates a thrift shop there with proceeds going to Henry Street. She also volunteers once a week at the Kling & Niman Family Visitor Center for the Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy.

A Lower East Side native, Ruth spent her younger years in a walk-up apartment on Avenue D & East 5 Street, with the bathroom down the hall. When she went to first grade, she could not speak a word of English, and was put in the last seat in the last row. She worked hard to learn, and wound up in the first row, first seat. In those days, seat placement was synonymous with perceived ability.

She learned to sew growing up, and became so proficient, that she used to copy the clothes in the department store, since she couldn’t afford to buy them. To support her daughter, she took a job at Henry Street Settlement, teaching sewing. It is in this position that she has taught generations of men and women from the Lower East Side. In the past, she also ran a summer program for families to Echo Lake Camp, run by Henry Street, and later to state parks when the camp closed.

Ruth lives in Seward Park Cooperative, has one daughter, and is a proud grandmother and great-grandmother.

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