Ruth Marcus Patt (1919- ) served as an active member of the Jewish community of New Brunswick. She joined Hadassah, a women’s Zionist organization founded before the formation of the state of Israel in 1947, which focused on serving Jews living in Palestine. Patt quickly rose through the ranks to become the group’s president in 1952 and then the New Brunswick chapter president in 1954. For fifteen years, Patt produced and edited the southern New Jersey regional Hassadah newsletter. Patt also took an active role in New Brunswick’s Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple; she served as the president of its sisterhood for two years. One of the first women to be elected to the temple’s Board of Trustees, Patt also wrote its monthly bulletin.
In 1977, Patt formed the Jewish Historical Society of Raritan Valley. During her term as president, the society grew to encompass a tri-county region and eventually became the Jewish Historical Society of Central Jersey. That same year, Patt helped establish the Jewish Archives of Central Jersey which still exists today.
As a citizen continually committed to the city of New Brunswick, Patt was appointed as general chair of the 1980 City of New Brunswick Tercentennial Celebration. The celebration involved 130 events and included diverse ethnic and religious groups. Consequently, Patt inspired the creation of written histories of the African-American and Hispanic communities of New Brunswick. She was recognized for these efforts in 1981 with a citizen of the year award.
Throughout her lifetime, Patt was recognized for her contributions to a number of communities. She received the New Jersey Historical Commission’s Award of Recognition, the Douglass Society Award for distinction in public service, the Rutgers University Medal which is the highest honor conferred by Rutgers upon an individual for service to the university. Patt was recognized by the Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple, which awarded her a Leadership Award in 1981. She and her husband both received the Lehman Award for Service to the Jewish People.