web analytics
September 20, 2014 / 25 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



In Memory of my Zeidy, Harry Rosenthal

He never boasted about his accomplishments, preferring to work hard in the background.
Rosenthal-053113-Main

On the flight to the U.S. for the funeral of my Zeidy, Harry Rosenthal, I saw a man wearing a cap that read ‘Proud Zeidy.’ I complimented him on the cap, and he joked, “You know, people have told me that the words ‘proud Zeidy’ are redundant.”

Those people are right; what Zeidy isn’t proud of his grandchildren? And yet, there is proud and there is proud, and I realized that the comment was the perfect background for my reflection on my own Zeidy’s life.

A person, we are told, carries several names throughout his life: the name he is given at birth, and the names he makes for himself. Zeidy made a name for himself as a caring son, a devoted husband, a loving father, a dedicated worker and a faithful Jew, but I think the name he was most proud of was ‘Zeidy,’ the proud, doting grandfather who thought I and my brother and sister were simply the greatest.

Zeidy was born in 1917 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, growing up in an America where it was not easy to be a frum Jew, and not at all a given that you or your descendents would remain Orthodox. Yet to Zeidy, it wasn’t a question; being Torah-observant was as clear and natural as breathing, and throughout his life he remained a faithful Jew, even as a soldier overseas in the U.S. Army. It was this simple, clear-headed faith, the attitude that you do what you’re supposed to do, no matter the circumstances, that he transmitted to my father and, subsequently, to me and my siblings. The fact that we all, baruch Hashem, are raising Torah families today is thanks to his dedication and sacrifice.

Serving as a soldier during World War Two was one of the most transformative experiences of his life, and he loved telling us stories from that time. In his last years, when he sometimes had difficulty remembering more recent events, he still told over his army experiences with amazing recall. The anecdotes we knew by heart; yet the pride in his voice when he told them over was a story in itself. Because what he spoke about was not battles, or feats of valor. Every single one of his stories – all his favorites – were about him being a Jew. About organizing a minyan for Kaddish at the burial of a Jewish soldier, when he realized no one else was doing so. About making the unheard of request from a commanding officer for permission not to carry out the order to sew up a hole in his blanket, as it was Yom Kippur. (When the commander refused, a fellow Irish soldier offered to sew it instead, and Zeidy loved inserting at this point in the story how, when he told over the incident to Rabbi Yisrael Reisman, Rabbi Reisman called it a neis mishamayim.) All his cherished stories were about being a faithful Jew even in the U.S. Army in the 1940’s, and it was this lesson and legacy that he passed on to us.Rosenthal-053113-Army

Zeidy was a true anav. He never boasted about his accomplishments, preferring to work hard in the background. When his brother-in-law, Rabbi Sholom Klass, z”l, founded The Jewish Press, Zeidy joined him in his fledgling endeavor, dedicating heart and soul, throughout his working years, towards building up the paper as its advertising manager. In those early years, he would often work through the night, and his success is reflected in the paper you read today, yet he eschewed kavod, always remaining behind the scenes.

The same was true for his many acts of chessed. He learned from his own parents both the love of helping others and the modesty of not talking about it. He would tell us that he never knew how many people his mother had helped out through the years until her funeral, when crowds of strangers showed up to pay their respects. Zeidy, too, performed his many chassadim without fanfare. It was only through Bubby that I learned how he took care of his older single sister for many years, dedicating hours every Thursday, week after week, to drive from one end of New York City to the other, picking up food for Shabbos from his younger sister and delivering it to his older one. Zeidy never mentioned it, just like he never spoke about the sacrifice he undoubtedly made to bring his in-laws to live in his home, with he and Bubby caring for them until Bubby’s mother, my Bubby Ethel, passed away 25 years later. It was not Zeidy’s way to complain; he always had a smile on his face, and everyone loved being around him. He had a large group of friends; his friendly, easygoing personality attracted people. Even in his last few weeks, when doctors coming to examine him asked how he was doing, his response was always, “I’m fine.”

About the Author:


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.

One Response to “In Memory of my Zeidy, Harry Rosenthal”

  1. Cassie Phillips says:

    A beautiful tribute to your dear Zeidy. Thank you for sharing this.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Protest rally against Metropolitan Opera staging Death of Klinghoffer on 9/22 at 4:30 pm at the Met.
For Grass Roots Klinghoffer Protest 9/22, Jewish Establishment MIA
Latest News Stories
Protest rally against Metropolitan Opera staging Death of Klinghoffer on 9/22 at 4:30 pm at the Met.

This Monday, starting at 4:30 p.m. ET, a rally is taking place on the steps of Lincoln Center. The rally is intended to give a voice and add faces to the ongoing furor over the Metropolitan Opera staging a wildly anti-Semitic opera, “The Death of Klinghoffer.” The opera was first staged in 1991, and is […]

A US Air Force (USAF) F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft in flight.

The Senate has approved the ‘ISIS Bill’ to train and arm 5,000 Syrian rebels against ISIS, but the American military is hoping for more.

The two Iranians had changed the photos in the stolen passports, replacing them with their own.

The victims found the bomb, began to tinker with it, and it exploded.

French fighter planes hit ISIS targets in Iraq on Friday.

A convoy of bulldozers supported by tanks reportedly entered Gaza on Friday.

Approximately 1000 Kurds, mostly women and children, are running for their lives to the Turkish border to escape ISIS (Daash).

The general did not say which variant of the missile the country bought, bu did mention the DF 21 is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

An airlift of 21 flights from El- Al Airlines flying from 10 different international locations, are bringing parents of lone soldiers serving in the IDF to Israel.

Armi fell from the 13th floor of a building, when both his rappelling cables snapped.

Gidon’s Saar’s quitting gives other Likud members the chance for promotion.

The poll shows that “Jewish Home” party members like and appreciate their current leadership.

It doesn’t matter your age, and there’s no embarrassment in other boys knowing, boys like toys that fly and that make big, loud sound, or do other cool stuff. In fact, if the boys are smart, they make it look very serious, so they can play with the toys at work too. That’s when remote […]

The people of Scotland have spoken: they will remain part of the United Kingdom.

Terrorists from Shuafat Refugee Camp opened fire at a home in Pisgat Ze’ev…

Defense official do not believe Hamas will actually begin shooting rockets at Israel over the next week or two.

More Articles from Gila Arnold
Rosenthal-053113-Main

He never boasted about his accomplishments, preferring to work hard in the background.

Last year on the seventh morning of Chanukah our phone stopped working. It wasn’t completely dead; it was still receiving calls and placing outgoing ones. But there was a funny kind of static on the line.

As readers of this column know, our aliyah experience has been studded with many “firsts.” Baruch Hashem, as of a few weeks ago, I can proudly add a new one to the list: my first Sabra.

All of us today benefit from the sacrifices and struggles of those who came before us, and we continue to battle so that our children should gain from our own triumphs.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/obituaries/in-memory-of-my-zeidy-harry-rosenthal/2013/05/30/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: