web analytics
April 23, 2014 / 23 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Safta’s Diaries: The Real Thing


Share Button

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.”

Share Button

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.

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

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Abbas and Hanieyh on poster, next to a picture of Arafat.
Kerry’s Talks Achieve Peace Between Hamas and Fatah
Latest Indepth Stories
Al-Aksa Mosque was claimed to be the site from which Mohammed ascended to Heaven, but it was built nearly 50 years after Mohammed died.

Jerusalem only seems important in the Islamic world when non-Muslims control or capture the city.

Israeli police enter the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City to disperse stone-throwing Palestinian protesters.

Jordan’s king is adding fuel to the fire on the Temple Mount, blaming Israel for violence by Muslim Arab rioters.

Imam Suhail Webb who boasted his Muslim community persuaded Brandeis President Fred Lawrence to withdraw an invitation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

At Brandeis, much of what counts as Western civilization got cold feet and won’t stand with Hirsi Ali.

Text of anti-Semitic flyer distributed to Jews in Donetsk, Ukraine on Passover 2014.

But the lesson from this meditation is that hidden behind the anti-semitic act is the greatest light.

As support of their messianic dream, Halevi and Antepli approve dishonoring Hirsi Ali as a ‘renegade.’

If itis a mitzva to eat matza all Pesach, then why is there no berakha attached to it?

When we are united with unconditional love, no stone will be raised against us by our enemies.

The reporter simply reports the news, but it is greater to be inspired to better the situation.

The Big Bang theory marked the scientific community’s first sense of the universe having a beginning.

Freeing convicted murderers returns the status of Jewish existence to something less than sanctified.

“The bigger they are the harder they fall” describes what God had in mind for Olmert.

We, soldiers of the IDF, who stand guard over the people and the land, fulfill the hopes of the millions of Jewish people across the generations who sought freedom.

How much is the human mind able to grasp of the Divine?

Jews have brought the baggage of the galut (exile) mentality to the modern state of Israel.

The Haggadah is an instruction manual on how to survive as strangers in strange lands.

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?

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

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: