web analytics
April 23, 2014 / 23 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
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.



Es Kimpt Dir – Remembering My Cousin Ruzah


Kupfer-070513

Share Button

After my son Moshe got married in Israel several years ago, I decided to keep in more frequent touch with my cousin Ruzah. I would call her on a weekly basis (a good opportunity to practice the Ivrit I learned in day school), speaking to a woman who was of an older, wiser generation – rendering her more like a mother. Ruzah, like all my first cousins was indeed my parents’ age, married with children before I was born. Her experiences mirrored my father’s generation, although she really was from mine. Her mother and my father were siblings and my unknown grandparents were hers.

My father was the youngest of a family that included eight sisters and two brothers. A ben-zakanim, he grew up with his many nieces and nephews. My conservative guess is that he had at least 50 of various ages – including several who were born when he was a toddler/pre-schooler.

When his family was swallowed by the Holocaust, only four nieces, who like him had been slave laborers in their late teens/early twenties, survived. A nephew and niece in Canada were spared because their parents, my father’s brother – 19 years his senior – had moved there years before the war to join his wife’s brothers.

Ruzah had been married in a DP camp and she and her husband Romek (Avraham) decided to move to Israel. I have no doubt that my uncle wanted them to come to Toronto – he had sponsored my parents as soon as he discovered his “baby” brother had survived (the only sibling to do so) but Ruzah, even as a young bride was wired by an “es kimpt dir” attitude.

In other words, instead of feeling that she should be pampered and taken care of by family in Toronto (justifiably so after years of intense suffering and loss – her immediate family had been wiped out) and having help in adjusting to a new country and language, she opted instead to take the “hard way out” and give of her strength and energy and devotion to the newborn, struggling State of Israel. I imagine that in her mind, she felt the people of Israel were “entitled” to the fruit of her hard labor, as opposed to her being the recipient of someone else’s sacrifice.

By traditional standards, Ruzah was not frum. For whatever her reasons, post-Holocaust she shed the many rules and regulations she grew up with and did not keep Shabbat or kashrut, yet she had a huge and consistent hakarat hatov that she often expressed. I remember when I would eat lunch at her house (she went out of her way to ensure that any visitor who kept kosher would have mehadrin food on plates and cutlery that were kept separate or made of plastic) she would sigh deeply in content at having a full belly and thank Hashem for the food. Having experienced long-term starvation as a slave laborer in a Nazi death camp, Ruzah truly appreciated having as much food as she wanted. Her brief todah (thank you) to God was of a sincerity that is rarely palpable in the speed–bentching I am accustomed to hearing. Seems like there is a rush to get the words out as fast as possible and be done with it.

Ruzah’s husband had also been raised in a yichusdik home, and his knowledge of Talmud was considerable – much to the amazement of those who did not see beyond his bare head – and his erlichkeit, integrity and middos matched those of his wife. Unfortunately, his Charedi business partner did not share his values and embezzled the money that was supposed to sustain their business – leaving them without a parnassah and having to start all over again. (Guess he had a “kimpt mir” attitude.)

While Ruzah may have been lax on some of her observances, the ones concerning ben adam lechavairo – those that govern how you treat other human beings – she was absolutely machmir on.

Her unwavering outlook was “Es kimpt dir – you are entitled to the best I can do for you,” and Ruzah did not take any short-cuts, nor did she expect to get back what she so fully and unconditionally gave to those who crossed her path.

Share Button

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.

No Responses to “Es Kimpt Dir – Remembering My Cousin Ruzah”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Who will he take to the dance?
It’s Prom Time, and Abbas Must Choose a Dance Partner – Israel or Hamas
Latest Sections Stories
Schonfeld-logo1

Regardless of age, parents play an important role in their children’s lives.

Marriage-Relationship-logo

We peel away one layer after the next, our eyes tear up and it becomes harder and harder to see as we get closer to our innermost insecurities and fears.

Gorsky-041814-Torah

Some Mountain Jews believe they are descendents of the Ten Lost Tribes and were exiled to Azerbaijan and Dagestan by Sancheriv.

Baim-041814-Piggy

Yom Tov is about spending time with your family. And while for some families the big once-in-a-lifetime experience is great, for others something low key is the way to go.

A fascinating glimpse into the rich complexity of medieval Jewish life and its contemporary relevance had intriguingly emerged.

Dear Dr. Yael:

My heart is breaking; my husband’s friend has gotten divorced. While this type of situation is always sad, here I do believe it could have been avoided.

The plan’s goal is to provide supportive housing to 200 individuals with disabilities by the year 2020.

Despite being one of the fastest-growing Jewish communities in the U.S. – the estimated Jewish population is 70-80,000 – Las Vegas has long been overlooked by much of the Torah world.

She was followed by the shadows of the Six Million, by the ever so subtle awareness of their vanished presence.

Pesach is so liberating (if you excuse the expression). It’s the only time I can eat anywhere in the house, guilt free! Matzah in bed!

Now all the pain, fear and struggle were over and they were home. Yuli was safe and free, a hero returned to his land and people.

While it would seem from his question that he is being chuzpadik and dismissive, I wonder if its possible, if just maybe, he is a struggling, confused neshama who actually wants to come back to the fold.

I agree with the letter writer that a shadchan should respectfully and graciously accept a negative response to a shidduch offer.

Alternative assessments are an extremely important part of understanding what students know beyond the scope of tests and quizzes.

More Articles from Cheryl Kupfer
Kupfer-032814

A young lady in her early 20’s, “Sarah” was redt to “Shlomie” a boy from her home town who learned in an out-of-town yeshiva. The families know each other well, which in today’s shidduch scene is a big plus – since it was therefore unlikely the kids would “fall in” due to misinformation and misinterpretations.

Kupfer-031414

I came to the conclusion a long time ago that I have to do what is right for me – as long as it’s “ halachically kosher” and doesn’t negatively impact on others – and not worry too much about what others think.

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and that is precisely what almost always happens in situations where a reference knew someone had serious but hidden emotional issues, but did not reveal the information to the person making inquiries.

Time never stood still for anyone – why would I be the exception? In my hubris, I thought that somehow I would live forever – and I suspect we all have secretly felt that way, even though we know it’s a fantasy.

One can argue that forgetting something on a regular basis is a sign of advancing age and it’s time to for a neurological evaluation, but based on the number of young people who need to replace a lost smart phone (too bad it’s not smart enough to warn its owner that that they have become separated – or is there an app for that too?), I safely can say that losing “stuff” cuts across the generations.

For quite a few days in late December, Toronto was transformed into a breathtaking – literally and figuratively – frigid winter wonderland, where every twig, leaf, car door, and outdoor wire and cable was totally encased in ice. When the sun shone the landscape was blindingly brilliant as if billions of diamonds had been glued to everything the eye could see.

Outside is a winter-white wonderland replete with dazzling trees, wires, and sidewalks seemingly wrapped in glittery silver foil. It’s quite lovely to look at, which is about all I can do since I’m stuck indoors. Icicle-laden tree branches are bent and hunch-backed by the frozen heaviness of their popsicle-like burden, and the voices squawking from the battery-operated transistor radio I am listening to are warning people not to go out since walkways and roads are extremely slippery, and there is real danger from falling trees.

The necessity of speaking up when you “have a hunch” applies even more when it comes to shidduchim. One little girl did just that – she said something – and I was fortunate enough to be in town for the very joyful, lively wedding that resulted from her speaking up.

    Latest Poll

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







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/on-our-own/es-kimpt-dir-remembering-my-cousin-ruzah/2013/07/05/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: