Elaine Reuben


Elaine Reuben of Washington, D.C., died on Jan. 6 at the age of 82. She was a leader in the development of Women’s Studies and affirmative attention to women faculty and students at the University of Wisconsin/Madison and nationally, she co-chaired the Modern Language Association Commission on the Status of Women in the Profession and was director of Women’s Studies at The George Washington University Graduate School.

While national coordinator of the National Women’s Studies Association, she taught in the American Studies program at the University of Maryland and directed the NWSA/FIPSE Project to Improve Service Learning in Women’s Studies. Elaine served as a special assistant to the deputy undersecretary for management at the U.S. Department of Education; she conducted executive searches for colleges and universities, was acting executive director of the Network of East-West Women, and offered training, consulting, organizational and editorial assistance to academic and non-profit organizations.

At Brandeis University, Elaine was a board member of the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute; she founded the Reuben/Rifkin Jewish Women Writers Series as a joint project of HBI and the Feminist Press, where she was also a board member for many years. Elaine supported individual artists, numerous museums and theaters, and ongoing programs focused on the arts. These included the Mosaic Theater Company of DC, the Timbrel Artist-in-Residence at the National Havurah Committee’s Summer Institute and Ford’s Theater. Earlier, she was a patron of Theatre J, Phillips Collection, and Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Her passion for Judaism, the role of Jews as agents for social change and the survival of Israel as a democratic state was reflected in Elaine’s leadership in the New Israel Fund where she served on its DC Leadership and International Councils, as well as the J Street President’s Council and Finance Committee. She supported Truah, National Council of Jewish Women, Jewish Family Services of the Jewish Federation of Indianapolis, and was a past president of the Jewish Study Center (DC). She was an ardent supporter of Jews United for Justice (DC), Just Vision (Israel-Palestine and the United States) and Project Kesher (Ukraine and Israel).


Elaine co-chaired the Women Donors Network’s Middle East Peace and Democracy Circle, served on the Steering Committee of the Resilience Fund of the Greater Washington Community Foundation and was a founding trustee of the Tikkun Olam Women’s Foundation of Greater Washington. Elaine is survived by her “daughter,” Cleopatra Kulasi, and her grandchildren, Sarah, Albert, and Rachel. Elaine is also survived by her niece, Emily Reuben (Jeremy). Elaine was preceded in death by her parents, Albert and Sara Reuben, and her two brothers, Lawrence and David.

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