Sonia H. Rubenstein died on August 18, 2020. She was 92. Born on May 3, 1928 in Brooklyn, NY, she was the second daughter of Hannah and Robert Horowitz. She graduated from Russell Sage College with a B.A. in Sociology and she received a Masters
Degree from Albany Teacher’s College. She married Alan S. Rubenstein on December 4, 1949. During her long life, she marveled at all of the great wonders of the world, from the smallest flower to the most magnificent monuments, but she never lost sight of the importance of family, friends, and community. She was a lifelong student and teacher and learned to cook, garden, decorate, sew, weave, and knit. She had wonderful taste in clothing and decorating and had a magic touch with orchids. She read extensively, played the piano, and loved opera and art. She especially treasured family time spent camping on the islands of the Narrows at Lake George.
She studied Hebrew and became a Bat Mitzvah when she was 80. She attended Torah class using Zoom up to a few weeks before her death. She was active socially and politically in every community in which she lived (Albany, Schenectady, Waynesboro, VA. and Erie, PA.) She was an early feminist, before that term existed in our lexicon, and was an active member of the League of Women Voters. In Virginia in the 1950s, she worked to elect African-Americans to municipal School Boards. In Schenectady, in the 1970s, she worked to elect women candidates. She helped elect the first woman mayor of the City of Schenectady and she served the City as coordinator of a job-placement service for Seniors. She was a long-time member of Temple Gates of Heaven and served on the Board of the JCC of Schenectady.
Sonia talked to everyone she met and remembered all of their stories. She was the repository of family history and she retold events that she remembered from her early childhood. At her 90th birthday party she regaled her guests with stories of the exploits of her mother and her 10 uncles and aunt on the family farm in Caldwell, New Jersey.
Above all she loved her family, especially her children and her grandchildren, and she kept in daily touch with her sister, Judith, and numerous first cousins. Her mission was to keep us all connected, including the paternal side of the family. Her husband of 65 years, Alan, and her older sister, Zilla Sussman, predeceased her. She is survived by her four children, Leah (and her husband Paul); Lisa (and her husband Rick); David (and his partner Brian); Daniel (and his wife Meg), seven grandchildren; and one great-grandchild; her sister Judith Meltzer; and many loving cousins and friends.
Due to the pandemic restrictions, there will be a graveside service with immediate family only. Donations in her memory may be made to the JCC of Schenectady and/or a Democratic political candidate of your choice.
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