web analytics
October 1, 2014 / 7 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Gloria Schreiber: Working Below The Radar


Gloria and Dr. Aharon Davidi, founder and leader of Sar-El.

Gloria and Dr. Aharon Davidi, founder and leader of Sar-El.

As the members of the I.D.F. lined up for the daily flag raising ceremony held on the Tel Hashomer Army Base outside of Tel Aviv, Gloria Schreiber approached the flagpole with a mixture of pride and awe. Standing at attention, dressed in fatigues, she grasped the rope, pulled gently and watched the white and blue flag slowly ascend.

She has watched the sun rise over the Gobi desert in Mongolia and has seen it set in the jungles of Nairobi, Kenya. She has climbed the Great Wall of China and journeyed from Antarctica to Australia, Hawaii to Nepal. But none of the extraordinary sights and sounds she has experienced during her 80-plus years can compete with the thrill of raising the flag of Israel as a volunteer for Sar-El.

Sar-El is the Hebrew acronym for Sheirut Le’Yisrael, meaning “Service to Israel.”

Gloria and Dr. Aharon Davidi, founder and leader of Sar-El.

Dr. Aharon Davidi, the former head of the IDF Paratroopers and Infantry Corps is the visionary who founded Sar-El almost 30 years ago during the outbreak of the 1982 Galilee War. He had been directing the Golan Heights community and cultural activities when the majority of able-bodied men were called up for army reserve duty.

Fearing that the settlements would lose their entire agricultural crop due to the severe manpower shortage Dr. Davidi sent a recruitment team to the United States. The 650 volunteers who answered the call to work in the fields were the forerunners of Sar-El, a non-profit, non-political organization which has attracted over 100,000 volunteers from over 30 countries world-wide, volunteers like Gloria Schreiber.

Her first tour of duty took place in 1986 when she accompanied her husband, Lee, a WW II veteran, to a base outside of Beersheva. Although she shared his love of Israel and travel, Gloria confesses she was “scared to death.” But the experience was so life affirming she has returned five more times, the most recent in 2009 when she provided logistical support for the IDF, packing medical supplies for soldiers.

For three memorable weeks she lived on the base, ate in the mess hall and got to know and appreciate Israel and its people on a deeply personal level. “Jews and non-Jews join Sar-El eager to offer help and show their support for Israel,” Gloria points out. “After my husband passed away I returned several times on my own and made friends with other volunteers who have become close friends for life.”

It was during a recent trip that she experienced what she describes as the ultimate example of Jewish geography. Gloria was working alongside a volunteer from Florida who casually asked where she was from. “I live on Long Island but my family is from Mahanoy, a small town in Pennsylvania that nobody ever heard of.”

In one of those mystical twists of fate that seem Heavenly ordained, her fellow volunteer responded that not only had he heard of the town but he knew exactly where it was located because his mother grew up there. Further discussions revealed that his mother and Gloria’s mother, who passed away last year at age 105, “were best friends a hundred years ago,” Gloria marvels.

Gloria and Sar-El volunteers packing supplies.

She viewed this as more than just a peculiar coincidence when you consider that there were only 35 Jewish families, out of a population of about 14,000, in this sleepy little mining town located in the heart of south central Pennsylvania’s coal country.

How big is Mahanoy? “When the front of the greyhound bus got out of town, the back of the bus got in,” Gloria jokes.

Her maternal grandparents, Esther and William Fried, originally from Grudna, Poland, settled in Mahanoy in 1905 where their relatives had already established a business. They joined the other Jewish shopkeepers along Main Street and opened Sydell’s dress shop catering to women and children.

“My grandparents were in business for 50 years and grandmother continued to run the store even after my grandfather passed away.” Gloria admired and adored her remarkable grandmother whose many skills included the ability to daven.

“They kept kosher and Shabbos and even went to the mikvah which was over a hundred miles away. As you can imagine it wasn’t easy to keep all those mitzvos a hundred years ago.” Gloria is convinced that because they were steadfast in their observance they merited having great-great-grandchildren who are Torah observant.

How did her parents meet? Gloria delights in sharing the scenario of their fateful encounter. Ahron Weinberg, an enterprising watch salesman from New York, was en route to a more profitable cosmopolitan city when he decided to get off the train when it pulled into Mahanoy to see if he could drum up “some parnassa.” His first stop, Rubin’s Jewelry store. Ahron sold Rubin some watches and Rubin sold him a ticket to the annual B’nai Brith Dance that attracted young singles from surrounding townships. Since the next train out of Mahanoy wasn’t scheduled to arrive until the next day, Ahron decided to spend the evening at the dance where he ultimately met his bashert, Gloria’s mother, Gittel.

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.

No Responses to “Gloria Schreiber: Working Below The Radar”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
B'Tselem ran a campaign this summer attacking Israel for its actions when searching for the missing Israeli teenagers. They called the campaign, "Hitching a Ride."
Israeli AG: Anti-Israel NGO Can Utilize National Service Volunteers
Latest Sections Stories
Israeli winery

“You want to know what this wine looked like, which wine King David drank, white or red…. We can see if it’s red or white, strong or weak.”

Mindy-092614-Choc-Roll

I should be pursuing plateaus of pure and holy, but I’m busy delving and developing palatable palates instead.

Schonfeld-logo1

Brown argues that this wholehearted living must extend into our parenting.

Twenties-092614-Abrams

If we truly honor the other participants in a conversation, we can support, empathize with, and even celebrate their feelings.

I witnessed the true strength of Am Yisrael during those few days.

She writes intuitively, freely, and only afterwards understands the meaning of what she has written.

“I knew it was a great idea, a win-win situation for everyone,” said Burstein.

Not knowing any better, I assumed that Molly and her mother must be voracious readers.

“I would really love my mother-in-law …if she weren’t my mother-in-law.”

For each weekly reading, Rabbi Grysman begins with a synopsis of the Torah portion, followed by a focus on a major issue.

It’s Rosh Hashanah. A new year. Time for a fresh start. Time for a new slate. Time for change.

Governor Rick Scott visited North Miami Beach/Aventura on the morning of Wednesday, September 17.

While the cost per student is higher than mainstream schools, Metzuyan Academy ESE is a priceless educational opportunity for children with special needs in South Florida.

Challah-pa-looza helped get the community ready and excited about the upcoming Jewish New Year.

Miami businessman and philanthropist Eli Nash had many in tears as he shared his story of the horrific abuse he suffered from age 8 to 11.

More Articles from Helen Zegerman Schwimmer
Ahuvah Gray

“When you are inexperienced and new to Yiddishkeit you figure, what do I have to lose? I think it’s called chutzpah!” With the honesty and good natured candor that have made her a much sought after lecturer across the Jewish spectrum, African-American convert Ahuvah Gray, recounts the remarkable story of her personal encounter with Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, z”tl.

Schwimmer-100512-Ocean-Pkwy

Picture it, a busy Sunday afternoon with traffic moving briskly along Ocean Parkway, a major Brooklyn thoroughfare linking the brownstones of Park Slope in the north with the beaches and amusement parks of Coney Island in the south. Suddenly everything comes to a halt.

As the members of the I.D.F. lined up for the daily flag raising ceremony held on the Tel Hashomer Army Base outside of Tel Aviv, Gloria Schreiber approached the flagpole with a mixture of pride and awe. Standing at attention, dressed in fatigues, she grasped the rope, pulled gently and watched the white and blue flag slowly ascend.

Levana Kirschenbaum, restaurateur, master chef, cooking teacher and author, has just published the ultimate cookbook, The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen: Glorious Meals Pure and Simple. This is her magnum opus, a book that takes kosher cooking to a whole new level; with everything we ever needed to know about preparing healthy cuisine from soup to nuts.

“What’s new?”

It was a casual question, posed to me by Irene Klass when we met at a Jewish women’s lecture during the fall of 1994.

When seven year-old Ariel tearfully ran into the kitchen complaining of pain it was his younger brother Shalom who came to the rescue. “Should I get you something to learn so you will feel better?” asked the six year old?

The idyllic countryside of Sobibor bears no resemblance to the large, efficient extermination camp once located in that remote corner of eastern Poland. Among the 250,000 Jews murdered during its 18 months of operation were the members of my mother’s family. I didn’t learn the details of their deaths until I was an adult, but I understood at a very young age that I had no grandparents, aunts, uncles or cousins because someone called Hitler had killed them.

It’s a story that’s familiar to every student of American history. In 1620, the Pilgrims fled England aboard the Mayflower and founded the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts, where they could freely practice their religion. A little known, but equally significant, historical event took place just a few years later in 1658, when another group seeking a haven from religious persecution sailed into Newport Harbor in Rhode Island and founded Congregation Jeshuat Israel.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/potpourri/gloria-schreiber-working-below-the-radar/2011/12/07/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: