Obituaries are updated regularly and archived on JN Online:
Special to the Jewish News
he quintessential rebbetzin, Gertrude R.
"Gitel" Gruskin, 88, of Lakewood, N.J.,
died Dec. 24, 2003. She was the devoted
wife of Rabbi Solomon H. Gruskin, leader
of Oak Park's Congregation B'nai Zion. A builder of
the Detroit Jewish community in her own right,
Rebbetzin Gruskin was a role model of chesed (kind-
ness) and caring to all who knew her.
In 1948, the rebbetzin held a meeting at her home
and founded Detroit's mikvah organization. The
Women's Orthodox League (WOL), now with 1,000
member-families, is the central address of the
Detroit's Torah-observant community.
Working alongside her husband, who also served as
chaplain to state hospitals and prisons, Rebbetzin
Gruskin arranged Pesach seders, Chanukah parties and
other support services for Jewish patients and inmates.
She was active in the Chevra Kadisha (burial socie-
ty), JARC, Kadima, Bikur Cholim and many other
local organizations. In addition, she and her husband
raised millions of dollars for Torah institutions in
both America and in Israel.
Besides her warmth and caring toward members at
B'nai Zion (originally the 1,600-member "Humphrey
Shur in Detroit), Rebbetzin Gruskin also directed
help feel more comfortable, he said.
the shul's activities. She kept the books as well — so
Rabbi Efryim Dovid Gruskin related many stories
meticulously, in fact, that when she was once audited,
his mother's life, illustrating her caring attitude
the IRS offered her a job on the spot.
toward others and of the lengths to which she would
Rebbetzin Gruskin was born in 1915 in Toronto to
go to observe mitzvot. He spoke of
Rabbi Chaim Yitzchok and Tzirel
his parents' incredible marriage, of
Reichman. Her father was a shochet (ritu-
how the rebbetzin stood by his father
al slaughterer), a Gerer chasid originally
from Warsaw, Poland. The family, with
Rebbetzin Gruskin was buried in
its five children, moved around, eventual-
B'rak, Israel, in a grave adjacent
ly settling in Detroit.
to Ray Eliezer Schach, recently
The rebbetzin graduated from the
departed Torah sage and Orthodox
University of Toronto, the only woman
leader. The rebbetzin is survived by
on the dean's list every year. She married
her husband, Rabbi Solomon H.
Rabbi Gruskin in 1944. In their 59 years
Gruskin; children Shulamis and
of shalom bayit (marital harmony), they
Rabbi Yehoshua Zuckerman of
raised a sterling family of five children, all
Brooklyn, N.Y.; Chana and Rabbi
now rabbis and rebbetzins themselves.
Reuven Rubelow of Monsey, N.Y.;
A community memorial service was
Rabbi Moshe Yitzchok and Kaila
held on the shloshim (30th day of mourn- Gertrude Gruskin
Rochel Gruskin of Lakewood;
ing) Jan. 21 at Congregation Beth Tefilo
Raizelle and Rabbi Shmuel
Emanuel Tikvah. Rabbi Yisroel
Serebrowski of Toronto; Rabbi Efryim Dovid and
Menachem Levin, the Southfield shul's rabbi, said
Naomi Gruskin of Perth Amboy, N.J.; many grand-
Rebbetzin Gruskin viewed "every second as an oppor-
children and great-grandchildren; sister Tobie and
tunity to do mitzvos."
Rabbi Irving Goldman of Jerusalem.
Stuart Newman,-B'nai Zion's president, spoke of
Contributions may be made to Congregation B'nai
the rebbetzin's uncompromising dedication to Torah
Zion, Women's Orthodox League, Yeshivah Torah Ore
principles and her concern for her fellow Jew. "Her
(Jerusalem), Ponevez Yeshivah (B'nei B'rak), Yeshivah
goal was to do for others — every minute of every
Gedolah of Perth Amboy (N.J.), or Ezras Torah
day, with no days off," he said.
(N.Y.). Contributions may be sent directly to the
He spoke of her intelligence and of her phenome-
organizations or do Rabbi Solomon H. Gruskin, 801
nal memory of people. She knew seven languages and
Lexington Avenue #1-F, Lakewood, NJ 08701. ❑
at age 80 taught herself Spanish to make her cleaning
come to be called Grant, Busch and Kirschner.
"He was a passionate advocate for his clients,"
Rabbi Bennett said. "He was a bright, talented lawyer;
someone who used his mind to find solutions to prob-
lems that others could never see."
SHELLI LIEBMAN DORFMAN
Deeply devoted to his music, Mr.
Busch first picked up a guitar as a
University of Michigan sophomore.
ary Mitchell Busch left behind "the echos
"His passion for music poured out of
of his music and the lesson of a meaning-
his soul almost daily," Rabbi Bennett
ful life," said close friend Rabbi Joshua
said. A founder of the band the Willies
Bennett of Temple Israel.
along with friends John Potter and
Mr. Busch, of Birmingham, died Jan. 22, 2004, of
Neil Goodman, Mr. Busch played lead
pancreatic cancer. He was 47.
guitar and sang and composed music
"He lived his life in harmony," Rabbi Bennett said.
for the group's performances and CDs.
Mr. Busch's life was a one of love of family, friends
The band established the Willies
and community blended with enthusiasm for the law
Foundation, raising money for chil-
and immersion in his music.
dren's charities and played benefit per-
The rabbi described him as a man who "refused to
' formances for agencies including
let common knowledge or practice dictate the way he
Common Ground Sanctuary.
would live in this world."
After being diagnosed with cancer,
Such determination brought him to his longtime
Busch had three goals: to complete a second
position as a workers' compensation and Social
CD, to see his son Eric become a bar mitzvah
Security Disability attorney.
"During his last year of school [at Detroit College of and to live to see the year 2004. "He made every one,"
said his former wife, Ellen Busch of West Bloomfield.
Law], he saw a card advertising for a legal clerk's job,"
Even though they were divorced, she said, "We
Rabbi Bennett said. `Rather than just call ... he
our children together. He was a devoted and
walked into the office asking when he would be start-
father to Jennifer and Eric. They were
ing his new job."
to him. He was always confident in his
He began his position soon afterwards, working for
nearly 25 years at the Southfield law firm that would
Music In His Soul
"He would go to all the kids' activities," she said.
"He was so proud of them."
Mr. Busch combined his music with his creative
abilities as a photographer. Attending the annual W.C.
Handy Awards in Memphis, he became
the blues event's official photographer.
He also combined his music with the
law, becoming involved with the Detroit
Blues Society, helping musicians with his
"There is no question that Gary
devoted himself to loving others," Rabbi
Bennett said. "He liked things done his
way; yet people were drawn to him. He
was a private person in so many ways
but he loved the center stage. His story
is one of music and melody."
Mr. Busch is survived by his daughter,
Jennifer Busch, son, Eric Busch, and for-
mer wife,. Ellen Busch, all of West
Bloomfield; father, Stanley S. Busch of
Oak Park; brother and sister-in-law, Richard and
Cynthia Busch of Pennsylvania.
He was the loving son of the late Celia Busch.
Interment was at Beth El Memorial Park.
Contributions may be made to the University of
Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center's Pancreatic
Cancer Research Fund, or to a charity of one's choice.
Arrangements by Ira Kaufman Chapel. ❑