I lost a good friend of twenty five years, Linda Landau (Z’L). News travels fast these days.
I wrote this note to a family member:
“Didn’t you join us at one of Linda’s performances ? I would listen to her comic routines, do a little touching up and cutting together. I’d let her know when I’d be back in Queens and we’d see each other several times a week, stay out late at the Brooklyn Museum, or attend a performance of Shakespeare in the Park. I was always welcome at her daughter Jackie’s home in Belle Harbor. Linda,(Z’L) belly surfed on the Rockaway waves. She was the daughter of a bootlegger, sent to an East Coast girl’s yeshivah where she promptly exited, I believe to Hunter College. There she studied art and languages. She wrote, sang, performed and was super intelligent. Her students loved her and she only stopped teaching when her classrooms were scattered and she couldn’t physically keep up.
There wasn’t a time that we spent together that wasn’t fun. She’s the only person I know who disliked shopping for clothing more that I did. She wore vintage before it was in. I remember she had a very colorful patchwork swing jacket. Somehow, I came across a matching skirt and I gave it too her.
She was so thrilled with the gift. She talked about it often and wore it and we both derived a lot of pleasure.
I walked through the streets of Jerusalem today. It was very grey. No-one had greater spontaneity and spark and determination than Linda. May her Neshama have an Alliyah.
The newspapers say that Linda was a feminist a Jewish feminist proud of the role of Jewish women to maintain the family.
So gentlemen, a male receives the call to the Bimiah for an Alliyah. I heard of a man who lived in a part of Florida and was nagged by his children to come to Israel for a visit. Finally he agreed.
He arrived in Ben Gurion Airport and said to his wife, “This is my place, I’m staying here, I’ll leave a suitcase and go back to the states to pack”.
For years he wondered, “How did I suddenly make this decision. It defies all reason.”
He asked several rabbis. Finally one said, “You know, when your name is called out in shul you stand up and get an alliya”. Your neshama is elevated.
The same thing happened when you got to Israel. You’re name came down from the heavens and you heard the call”.
I like to think that Linda, heard her call by our Father in heaven.
With heartfelt affection,
The following regards a horrific plan to destroy the Jewish Cemetery of Vilna
I received this e-mail:
I don’t ordinarily get involved in signing petitions, but this is a matter that cries out for protest against the massive desecration that is about to take place. I’m sure you know that the Lithuanian government has announced plans to build a new convention center over the Old Jewish Cemetery of Vilna. Although the Vilna Gaon’s remains were removed from the Old Jewish Cemetery, the remains of hundreds, perhaps thousands of Jews are still buried in the Old Jewish cemetery. These include the remains of some of the greatest rabbis, Jewish martyrs, and pious women through the centuries, including R. Moshe Rivkes (d. 1671-2), author of the Be’er Ha-Golah on the Shulhan Arukh; R. Zelmele (i.e., R. Shlomo Zalman, d. 1788), brother of R. Hayyim of Volozhin and favorite disciple of the Vilna Gaon; R. Shmuel b. R. Avigdor (d. 1793), last Chief Rabbi of Vilna; R. Avraham b. Ha-Gra (d. 1809) ; the Ger Zedek of Vilna (d. 1749), whose remains were not removed from the Old Jewish cemetery (despite claims otherwise); and Traina (date of death unknown), mother of the Vilna Gaon; Chanah, first wife of the Vilna Gaon (d. 1782); and Gitel, second wife of the Vilna Gaon, who apparently outlived the Gaon (precise date of death unknown). Virtually every Jew who died in Vilna before the year 1831 was, in fact, buried in the Old Jewish Cemetery.
The petition does not call for the Lithuanian government to cancel plans for building a new convention center (funded largely by the EU). It simply asks that it be built at a different location in Vilnius – which can easily be done.
A wonderful Vilna resident, Ruta Bloshtein, a shomer shabbos woman who bakes challah for members of the Vilna kehillah every erev Shabbos, has taken upon herself the responsibility of spearheading this write-in campaign. She started some three weeks ago and has about 250 signatories so far. She needs at least 1000 signatures; if she doesn’t get them it will be a Chillul Ha-Shem even beyond the destruction of the Jewish cemetery itself. It will be a signal to the Lithuanian government that Jews neither care nor count. If she gets 3000 signatures, the political authorities will have little choice but to take the petition into account before making any hasty decision. She needs, and deserves, our help.
The two key Rabbonim in Lithuania today, Rabbi Krelin (Chief Rabbi of Lithuania) and Rabbi Krinsky (head of Chabad) are among the first 250 signatories. It seems to me this is a case of מת מצוה in more ways than one.
All one needs to do is to click on the link below, fill out the electronic form, and electronically sign their name. Please forward to others, so that they too can participate in this mitzvah. It is not a time to stand idly by.
With prayers for the success of our cause,