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Syril Rubin

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Syrilcq Rubin of Fort Lee, a vigorous supporter of Jewish causes, most prominently the Kaplen cq JCC on the Palisades, died Monday after a brief illness. She was 84.

With her husband, Leonard, who died in 2007, Mrs. Rubin helped found the Englewood Jewish Community Center. The couple were among the principal fundraisers for the construction of the JCC's building in Tenafly, which opened in 1981. A wing bears their names, as does the JCC's nursery school.

Mrs. Rubin was synonymous with the JCC and its myriad programs. When the center was in Englewood, she organized a lecture series that brought in the likes of psychologist Bruno Bettelheim and George McGovern, the U.S. senator and 1972 Democratic presidential nominee. She was front and center at the annual Rubin Run, which raises money for the JCC's health and social services programs. Family and friends organized the Mother's Day race in 1981 after Leonard Rubin suffered a heart attack.

In recent years Mrs. Rubin went to the JCC for Pilates, group exercise and music appreciation classes.

"This woman lived here," said Avi Lewinson, the executive director. "The last time she was here, two weeks ago, she came over to me and you'd have thought she hadn't a worry in the world. She walked over to the auditorium, saw there were fliers, and straightened out the pile. Then she walked down the hall, and everyone she saw she had a smile and a good word for."

Mrs. Rubin also supported the Jewish Home at Rockleigh and the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey, among other organizations.

Sandra Gold, a former board president of both the JCC and the Jewish Home, said Mrs. Rubin was "in many respects a matriarch of this community" and an unassuming mentor to her and others involved in Jewish philanthropy.

"Syril and Lenny's home was the focal point for leaders of these organizations," Gold said. "It was almost like a convening of family when you were at their home, and Syril was a great and warm hostess."

Mrs. Rubin, formerly of Tenafly, is survived by her children, Daniel Rubin, Robert Rubin and Leslie Weinberg; a sister, Helene Nelkin no hometowns available; 12 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

The funeral was held Tuesday at the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades, under the direction of Gutterman and Musicant Jewish Funeral Directors, Hackensack.

Published in The Record on Nov. 14, 2012
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