Ethel Gruen was born in 1920 in New York City. She attended Julia Richman High School in downtown New York, which was the first time she and her twin brother, Sam, had been separated. Afterwards she went to Hunter College and married her husband, Ronnie z”l, in 1942. They settled down in New York and Ronnie was exempt from army service because he was a tool and dye maker. Ethel and her husband have always been very important advocates of Jewish education, having supported the Dallas Jewish community and its institutions like Akiba and Yavneh Academies in addition to Yeshiva University in New York. Ronnie and Ethel  were involved with the establishment and development of both Akiba Academy and Congregation Beth Torah and have served as major philanthropists in the Jewish community.

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