Ruth Broder

Interviewed by Michael Berke

March 5, 2018

Max M. Fisher Federation Building, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan

Ruth Broder
Video 01:01:00


In this oral history interview, Ruth Broder talks about growing up in a German Reform environment where she went to Sunday school and knew about the holidays, but her family was very liberal. She remembers philanthropy always being a part of her family, especially her mother. She remembers sitting in on meetings as a young girl, and her mother putting her into her first solicitation experience.

It was immediately after she was married that she was asked to join the Women’s Division. Broder describes G-Day and other events the Women’s Division took part in, such as Coffee and Conversation. She speaks on what is appealing about Federation to her over other organizations she has been involved with.  She mentions some women who were influential on her.

Broder speaks about the relationship between the general Federation and the Women’s Division and also touches on how the Women’s Department is today.  Broder expands on her experiences as campaign chair in the Women’s Division and turning down the presidency of the Women’s Department.  She mentions a workers training program she worked on for the general campaign.  She then discusses some areas she feels pride in and talks about the changes that have been made within the Women’s Department over the years and her opinion on its current state.

History of Narrator

Ruth Kahn Broder was born in 1929 in Detroit to Vera and Ivor Kahn. She has a long history of volunteerism within the Detroit Jewish community. She was actively involved with the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit’s Women’s Division, serving many positions including campaign chair. She served on the board of Federation, Jewish Family Service, JVS and United Israel Appeal.

She also served Federation as chair of the Missions committee and directed Michigan Miracle Mission III. Additionally, she is a longtime volunteer and committee member of the Leonard N. Simons Jewish Community Archives. Broder has the distinction of being named Federation’s first recipient of the Sylvia Simon Greenberg Award for young leadership in community volunteerism. She also received Federation’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002.

In addition to her volunteer activities, Broder worked as a staff member for Senator Carl Levin. She was married to N. Brewster Broder (z”l) and is the mother of four children.  She is also a grandmother and great-grandmother.


Important Subjects

  • G-Day
  • Women's Division/Women's Philanthropy

Important Names

  • Ann Daniels
  • Barbara Satinsky
  • Bernice Hopp
  • Beverly Peterman
  • Carl Levin
  • Carolyn Greenberg
  • Dora Ehrlich
  • Dulcie Rosenfeld
  • Esther Prussian
  • Frieda Stollman
  • Gertrude Wineman
  • Golda Krolik
  • Irving Seligman
  • Jennie Jones
  • Lois Brown
  • Margie Fisher
  • Michael Feldman
  • Mildred Grossman
  • Philip Marcuse
  • Rosalie Colbert
  • Shirley Harris
  • Sol Drachler
  • Tillie Brandwine

Credit as: Leonard N. Simons Jewish Community Archives. Ruth Broder Oral History Interview, March 5, 2018.