Ruth Vogel Ostfeld


Ruth Vogel Ostfeld, of North Haven and Hamden, CT, died on Tuesday, April 19, 2016 at Whitney Center in Hamden. She was 90. Ruth was born on June 26, 1925 in South Bend, IN. Her father, Sandor Vogel, a World War I veteran, originally from Hungary, owned a dry goods store.  The apartment above the dry goods store was the family home she shared with her parents and sister, Lillian.  Her mother, Olga Spiegler came to the US from Bratislava as a teenager to serve as a nanny for the daughter of a Yiddish writer on the Lower East Side of New York. During World War II, all but one of Ruth’s European relatives on both sides were killed by the Nazis in concentration camps.  Ruth’s life was altered by the stream of letters from Europe that, as they trickled to a stop, awakened her awareness of the Holocaust and its effect on her family. Ruth attended Indiana University as a cello performance major and later Milwaukee Downer College. In 1950 she married Dr. Adrian M. Ostfeld, and together they had 3 children, Barbara (Todd Joseph), Richard (Felicia Keesing) and Robin (Lou Johns).  Ruth and Adrian had seven grandchildren, Lisa, Jordana, Sharon, Aleza, Aminy, Jacob and Benjamin.  Ruth’s daughter, Robin and granddaughter, Lisa predeceased her.  There are two great-grandchildren. Ruth was an occupational therapist, a Civil Rights activist in Chicago, an organic gardener, a long-time volunteer and organizer for The League of Women Voters, an activist in Connecticut Democratic politics, and an avid supporter of Planned Parenthood, the Union for Reform Judaism, and UNICEF.  She never missed a chance to vote. She sewed, knitted, crocheted, smocked, wove and embroidered many garments for her children and grandchildren, recycled before it was fashionable, listened avidly to NPR, loved generously and leaned left proudly. She baked a mean cherry strudel, stretching the dough by hand over the kitchen table until you could read the New York Times through it. Despite Alzheimer’s Disease, Ruth never stopped being able to enjoy dark chocolate or the color orange.

A memorial service will be held Sunday, May 1, 2016 at 4: pm at Congregation Mishkan Israel, 785 Ridge Rd., Hamden, CT, the synagogue over which Ruth once presided. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the League of Women Voters or to Planned Parenthood.

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  1. Larry lazaroff said,

    04.22.16 at 4:37 pm

    Very sorry to learn of Ruth’s passing. A wonderful woman. Condolences to the family.

  2. Joseph Vogel said,

    04.25.16 at 12:04 am

    Ruth was a beloved, wonderful person with a great sense of humor. I’ll never forget the Seder complete with filet mignon and bernaise sauce or the cherry strudel she brought to son Alex’s wedding. A favorite family member who will be missed.

  3. BJ said,

    04.27.16 at 1:48 am

    I am so sorry for your loss. May the God of all comfort strengthen you for the days a head. Know that caring thoughts are with you. That “He heals the brokenhearted; He binds up their wounds.”-Psalm 147:3; jw.org

  4. Linda Soha said,

    04.27.16 at 1:17 pm

    To the Ostfeld Family ~ Ruth will always be in my heart and mind as a shining example of Jewish womanhood. It was largely her influence that got me hired as part-time office support at Mishkan Israel, in 1999, and I had the pleasure of working with her almost every day as she volunteered in the office! Her warmth, humor and down-to-earth presence were always so welcome… we also shared a love of music… I soon joined the congregation, and the choir. I send my condolence, and know that Ruth’s memory will be a blessing to us! ~ Linda Soha