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In memory of




Ruth’s life centered around her family, her music and all the people to whom she extended warmth and chesed.  Ruth was born in Richmond, VA in 1943.  Her family moved to Arlington VA after World War II, when her father’s work at the US Patent Office moved back to Washington.  By the time Ruth was in the 4th grade, they moved to the Riggs Park section of Washington, DC, so that they could live in a Jewish area.

Ruth’s earliest memory of a musical event was her mother Jeannette taking her to the National Symphony Orchestra at the age of 3 ½.  Because she was so young, Jeannette took her home after the first half.  Jeannette was her first music teacher.   She studied music in school,  but her most intense music education was from the Peabody Institute in Baltimore while she was in the 8th through 11th grades.  In Junior High School Ruth played piano in the orchestra and sang in the chorus.  In Coolidge High School she played the cello, was involved in all the school variety shows, was voted “Most Musical Female Student,” and was president of the Music club.

The orchestra director at Coolidge encouraged Ruth to study music at Ithaca College.  At Ithaca Ruth preferred to emphasize performance over music education.  Ruth also learned at Ithaca to function in a place where her Jewishness was unusual.  She was active in the Hillel Foundation and activities at nearby Cornell University.   Ruth obtained her Masters in Music at Indiana University, and returned to Maryland to pursue doctoral studies.  She completed her dissertation “The Music of the Passover Seder from Annotated Sources” in 1980.

Ruth met NOAA meteorologist Henry Newhouse in 1969 at a Hadassah social function.  They were married in August 1970.

Ruth organized the musical program at the JCC of Greater Washington, and in 1971 became its first director.  In 1972 she began teaching music privately, and in 1973 she began teaching music at the Jewish Day School (JDS).  A former student of hers from JDS said that she taught not just music, but how to be a “mensch”.

Ruth and Henry’s son Joey was born in 1974.  Ruth and Henry devoted themselves to him.  Joey was diagnosed with Gaucher’s disease at a very young age, but excelled in his schooling and extracurricular endeavors, including music.  In elementary and high school, he participated in many musical productions.  Joey’s cousins remember him being passionate about cars when he could barely walk.  His life ambition was to be an automotive engineer, and Joey did just that, working for several years in drivetrain technology at Ford.

Ruth’s most prominent interests were music, love for Israel, travel (particularly to the capitals of each state in the Union) and Native American nations.

Ruth’s love for Israel began when she helped her Mother count the money from the little blue JNF boxes.  In the late 60’s she spent a summer at an Ulpan in Netanya.  Many years later she visited Israel in 1981 with Joey as participants in the March of the Living.  In 2007 she again visited Israel with her brother and sister-in-law on the way to a bar mitzvah in South Africa, and again in 2018 for a wedding and touring with her synagogue.

Ruth advocated during the Yom Kippur war, that all Jews of America must give money, attend rallies and educate our government officials about the importance of protecting Israel.

Ruth and Henry began the adventure of visiting all 50 state capitals.  Ruth completed that adventure with her trip to Hawaii in 2017.  Ruth drove herself across the country several times.  During some of those trips she was able to visit a number of Native American cities and mounds.

Ruth was an exceptional person.  Her family, her students and her colleagues remember her fondly for her warmth and care and great devotion to all. 


Ruth Newhouse

Bequest in her estate

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