web analytics
August 29, 2014 / 3 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Safta’s Diaries: The Real Thing


When she attended her granddaughter Shera’s graduation from Barnard and met Rabbi and Mrs. Teitz, who were there for their daughter Abbie’s graduation, she must have mentioned she was a student. Rabbi Teitz sent her a copy of the tractate printed especially for Daf Hashavua with numbered lines so that listeners could easily find the place.

She relished parts of homemaking – painting a porch, sewing and hanging curtains, baking and cooking for the Sabbath and holidays – and didn’t care for other parts. But she did not want to hire a maid, because she considered that a waste of money.

The Applemans used their money to advance Torah learning and Jewish life. Their joy was to build schools in Israel, to provide interest-free loans there, to give in every way to Israel. Their first thought when they sold a tract of land for six million dollars was the tzedakah they would give. They consistently helped members of both of their families.

She laughed when a neighbor told her she should buy new towels. This happened in the days when laundry was hung out to dry on clotheslines in backyards. She recorded that her towels may have been old, but at least they didn’t carry the name of the Hotel Sterling, a first-class kosher hotel in Miami Beach.

Two sources of delight shine through all the details: her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren; and her club of women who spoke Hebrew. The women met on Shabbat afternoons to hear serious lectures in Hebrew and to enjoy the hospitality of the hostess for that month. The other members must have shared her enthusiasm because reports of the meetings always end with the women lingering for conversation.

I am impressed that the family granted permission to publish these diaries. Mrs. Appleman tells everything – quarrels and worries, as well as admirable traits in each of her children. Her second daughter, for example, studies a chapter of the Bible each day and often gives her mother a few hundred dollars to distribute for tzedakah; when this daughter speaks on behalf of Israel, people are inspired.

We all owe her and her siblings, and Shera and her siblings, who researched all the references, thanks for this genuine account of over thirty years of Torah-Zionist life. Some books are written to establish a person’s place in history. This book is itself history.

Dr. Rivkah Blau teaches at Fairleigh Dickinson University. She is the author of “Learn Torah, Love Torah, Live Torah: Rav Mordechai Pinchas Teitz, the Quintessential Rabbi.”

About the Author: Dr. Rivkah Teitz Blau is a professor of English, an author, and a lecturer. She edited the volume on "Gender Relationships in Marriage and Out" for the Orthodox Foru


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Safta’s Diaries: The Real Thing”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz reviewing maps on the Golan Heights.
Al Qaeda and ISIS are Israel’s New Northern Neighbors
Latest Indepth Stories
IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz reviewing maps on the Golan Heights.

The bad news is that ISIS and Al Qaeda are on the Syrian Golan. The good news is that every terrorist in Syria is killing each other.

TorahScroll AoT17

The congregants, Ethiopians spanning generations, were beaming with joy and pride.

Troodler-082914

The withdrawal from the Gaza Strip nine years ago did not enhance Israel’s security.

Eisenstock-082914

How does a soldier from a religious home fall in love with a soldier from a non- religious kibbutz?

In 19th century entire ancient Jewish communities fled Palestine to escape brutal Muslim authorities

Responsibility lies with both the UN and Hamas, and better commitments should have been demanded from both parties in the ceasefire.

But the world is forever challenging our Jewish principle and our practices.

If this is how we play the game, we will lose. By that I mean we will lose everything.

Reportedly, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates have formed a bloc that seeks to counter Islamist influence in the Middle East.

One wonders how the IDF could be expected to so quickly determine the facts.

While there is no formula that will work for everyone, there are some strategies that if followed carefully and consistently can help our children – and us – gain the most from the upcoming school year.

We risk our lives to help those who do what they can to kill to our people .

Twain grasped amazingly well the pulse of the Jewish people.

The entertainment industry appears divided about the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

More Articles from Rivkah Teitz Blau
Young Jewish students at a Jewish Community Center (JCC) in Krakow, Poland, during a havdalah ceremony.

I had heard singing from across the street several times at the end of Shabbos but hadn’t realized the singing was a prelude to Havdalah.

book-from-where-i-stand

You can tell Rabbi Yossy Goldman’s book From Where I Stand: Life Messages from the Weekly Torah Reading by its covers. The front cover is a photograph of a rabbi in a shul that is full of light.

The picture on the front cover of Safta’s Diaries (translated and edited by Shera Aranoff Tuchman, published by Ktav) is of a beautiful, strong woman. The photographer caught her in a quiet moment: she is sitting on a tall horse; the reins are in her right hand, the pommel of the saddle under her left hand; she appears ready to lead the charge against any challenge that might come.

Jews would be the most populous group on Earth today if our numbers when we left Egypt more than 3,000 years ago had been allowed to grow in a natural, unimpeded way. But we know from the history of massacres and laws against our people that the rate of Jewish population growth has been anything but natural. How have we survived so many enemies over so many years? How can we have any hope for the future?

In the century and a half since the birth of the rebbetzin famous ancestor, transportation has changed from horse and wagon to jet plane, but Torah life is constant.

A Jew who participates in the suffering of his nation and its fate, but does not join in its destiny, which is expressed in a life of Torah and mitzvot, destroys the essence of Judaism and injures his own uniqueness.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/saftas-diaries-the-real-thing/2011/02/16/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: