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Lea Ruskin

Retired JudgeLea

Lea worked the summer of 1963 at Kibbutz Kfar Blum in the upper Galilee and fell in love with Israel.  That love affair has continued and she and her husband, Mel, have revisited Israel more than 20 times since.

Raised on the New Jersey Shore, Lea studied philosophy at Beaver College (now Arcadia University) near Philadelphia, where she met her now husband, Mel.  While at Beaver, Lea was active in theatre and graduated with honors and a designation to Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities.  Several years later Mel and Lea reconnected in New York City, married and moved to Woodbury on Long Island’s North Shore where they raised their children, Matt and Rachel.

When the children went off to school full-time, so did Lea.  She attended Hofstra University Law School and began her legal career as a civil litigator.  She then clerked for a New York State Supreme Court Justice and in 1988 became a Nassau County Assistant District Attorney.  Lea’s talents were appreciated and in 1996 she was appointed a Nassau County District Court Judge.  Lea was elected twice to that position and elevated to a County Court Judgeship where she presided over serious felony criminal cases.  After 13 years on the bench, Lea retired at the end of 2008.

Lea’s commitment to community and Jewish philanthropy goes back to the 1970’s.  Among her many community activities, Lea served as a member of the Syosset/Woodbury School Board, a Trustee of the Civic Association, President of her local American Cancer Society and a Board member of Long Island’s Symphony Auxiliary.  Professionally, Lea was President of the Nassau County Women’s Bar Association, President of the District Court Judge’s Association and Chair of the District Court Children’s Nursery Advisory Board.  

Lea’s enduring commitments, however, and the ones that bring her the greatest joy, have always been to Jewish causes.  A synagogue member for over 35 years, Lea is past Co-Chair of the Long Island Business and Professional Women’s Division of UJA/Federation and has been a member of UJA’s Speaker’s Division.

Since retiring from the bench, Lea enjoys her leisure time traveling, cooking, reading, playing bridge and all things New York City.  Her love of Israel and speaking about the important work of the Jewish National Fund will keep her busy along with a serious commitment to her three fabulous grandchildren, Talia, Arielle and Noah.

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