Mrs. Ruth Klugman, a”h, 86, who was a pillar of chessed and the picture of selflessness, was niftar this past Shabbos. She was the widow of Reb Rafael Klugman, z”l, a well-known askan.
“Everything that she did was for others, the word zich [self] did not exist for my mother,” said her son, ybl”ch, Rabbi Eliyahu Meir Klugman. “The door of the house was never locked and people came in at all hours. She delivered clothes, bought furniture for people and even did laundry for other families that needed it. The stories of her chessed are never-ending.”
Mrs. Klugman, nee Guggenheim, was born in 1931 in Nuremburg, Germany. The family fled shortly after the Nazis’ rise to power and made their way to Switzerland, moving to America after the conclusion of World War II.
In 1951 she married Reb Rafael Klugman. The couple lived for many years in Washington Heights, where they built a home that quickly became a fortress of absolute dedication to the needs of individuals in the community as well as to the klal.
Living in absolute simplicity, often with what most would consider less than the bare necessities, Mrs. Klugman looked after the needs of any Jew she felt she could help, often delivering food, clothing, or money in a way that would leave the receiver totally unaware of its source.
Though never having studied in a Jewish school, she was well versed in Torah thought, and frequently read the works of her ancestor, Harav Samson Raphael Hirsch, zt”l. Her three daily tefillos occupied a fixed place in her schedule and were recited with great kavanah.
In 1972, the Klugmans moved to Monsey, NY. There she dedicated herself to working with the famed mosad hachessed Kupas Ezra, to collect and deliver necessities for families in need. As it had always been, the Klugman home was a refuge for anybody who needed warm meals and a bed, sometimes for months on end.
The levayah was held Sunday in Lakewood and then continued to Monsey, where additional hespeidim and kevurah took place.
She is survived by children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Yehi zichrah baruch
A full tribute will, b’ezras Hashem, appear in a future edition.