About Ruth Fineshriber

Her Life

Ruth Fineshriber’s approach to philanthropy came directly from her grandfather Morris Bloch, who often told the family, “Keep only what we need and give the rest to charity.” He devoted his life to saving European Jewry, bringing as many refugees as possible to New York after the wave of pogroms that resumed in 1888, including Ruth’s father and all five of her uncles. Her entire extended family lived together under one roof in New York. Ruth and her cousins often told of being awakened when newcomers arrived; “they need your beds tonight more than you do.” Years later, when Morris’s girls were all married and his wife had passed away, he did the same work in then-Palestine, rescuing Jews and establishing an orphanage before the founding of Israel. 

Despite this close family, Ruth suffered many losses that informed her commitment to children and families. She was orphaned as a child, and widowed with a young son at the end of World War II. To support herself and her son in the years when jobs were scarce, Ruth took the bold step of becoming an entrepreneur in a field where few options were available to women. 
Ruth knew art. She had won a scholarship to college, unusual for Jewish girls at that time, where her gift for identifying fine art emerged. She opened a gallery in her small Manhattan apartment, traveling to Europe while her son was at summer camp, and becoming friends with many post-war artists including Magritte, Giacometti, Matta, and Picasso. She went on to earn her degree in the first MFA class offered by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She also volunteered teaching art to children through the National Council of Jewish Women and at a prototype art therapy program for children at Hunter College. She later became executive director of the famed Paul Rosenberg Gallery. When her son Jeff went off to college, Ruth married Bill Fineshriber. Bill’s work involved a great deal of travel; Ruth retired from the art world, except for her lifelong commitment as a founding member of The Israel Museum, to accompany him around the world. Ruth’s private collection, the art she had not sold or refused to sell, remained in their apartment. Gradually, these works were forgotten outside of her immediate circle. Over 40 years later, their sale, to create the Fineshriber Family Foundation, created a stir in the art world. 
Jeff Moskin, Ruth’s son, had become involved with philanthropy through the work of his wife, Marcia Antopol. Along with Marcia’s experience leading grant selection at institutional philanthropies, Ruth particularly enjoyed hearing about the individuals Marcia guided in designing and operating their foundations to advance their own philanthropic visions. Ruth decided to sell her art and create a family foundation for Jeff and Marcia to lead which would serve the critical needs of children and families and promote social justice.
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