NEW YORK – The World Jewish Congress mourns the death of Jewish and social justice advocate June Ruth Jacobs, who passed away this week at the age of 88. “June Jacobs was a giant in the world of advocacy and an unparalleled figure in the Jewish world, dedicating her life to ensuring that people of all faiths and backgrounds be granted freedom and equality,” said WJC President Ronald S. Lauder.
“The World Jewish Congress was honored to have been graced with her service as Member of the WJC Executive Committee. Throughout her life’s work, Jacobs shifted the course of contemporary Jewish history, and thousands of lives were changed for the better due to her tireless efforts,” Lauder said. “May her commitment to social justice and peace serve as an exemplary model for generations to come.”
June Ruth Jacobs was born in June 1930. She was the founder and first chair of the National Council for Soviet Jews. She led missions in the 1970s to visit Jews who had been denied permission to emigrate (refuseniks) from the Soviet Bloc and worked endlessly to secure their freedom.
She served as president of the International Council of Jewish Women from 1996 – 2002, and during her tenure represented the organization at the UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York. She remained involved in the ICJW the late in her life through her membership of the European Women's Lobby and Women's International Commission.
Jacobs was also member of the board of directors of the New Israel Fund, a patron of the Jewish Council for Racial Equality (JCORE), a member of the Black Jewish Asian Forum, Life President of Jewish Child's Day, and Vice President of the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture and Chairperson of their Nahum Goldmann Fellowship Program. Jacobs was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2009 Birthday Honours.