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A Tribute To An Amazing Man: My Grandfather, Laibel Zisman, On His First Yahrzeit

Leibel Zisman, a’h, with Myrna Zisman

Leibel Zisman, a’h, with Myrna Zisman

By Rebecca Alenick

I knew I would have to talk about it sooner or later. I chose later. I don’t know why it took me so long to open up about the death of the person who inspired me, loved me, and made me who I am today. He set the rules and he played the game, but he played it well and fairly. He gave us stories from the past, advice from the present, and hope for the future. He took all of his brilliance, experience, and anything and everything he could think of and laid a thick slab of foundation cemented into the ground forever. This is the beginning of our house built by Zaidy.

Electricity. You know those people who just light up the room upon entrance? My Zaidy didn’t just light up the room, he illuminated it. He created an ambiance and set the tone so everyone could feel the same, so he could share a little bit of himself with all those who surrounded him. Unfortunately, it worked both ways. When he was upset, sad, angry, etc., we all seemed to detect it while undergoing similar emotions. When he passed away, it was as if the power went out, leaving us to wallow away and grieve in the darkness.

Appliances. Zaidy was one of the handiest people in the world. He could make something from practically nothing. He was creative and innovative, capable of producing the most intricate works from anything. Throughout my life, my Zaidy has given me, as well as all he knew, the tools to thrive and create as he would have done.

Foundation. My Zaidy was a born leader. He was the ringmaster of our circus, the general of our army, and the patriarch of our family. He was the glue that held us together and the supporting beams which kept us standing throughout. He embodied power, making our base not just durable but rather indestructible. With him we could survive anything. He was our core, our essence, our heart, and above all, he was our foundation.

When the tragic news befell our family, it felt as if our world had completely shut down. Or at least our world had. What would we do without our leader? Is it even possible to carry on with our lives? As hard as it may seem, it is. The summer of his death I learned the hard truth of what it meant to lose someone, but I also learned that what may feel like the end is not actually the end; it is the end giving way to a new beginning. We must continue to share the stories, perpetuate the lessons, and shine the light that my Zaidy dedicated his whole life to. It is our job to carry on the legacy that he left behind while simultaneously creating new memories. As this article comes to a close, I leave you with a crucial message: although the house may come down and the walls collapse, the foundation lies strong and secure, ready to be built upon again as our house was first built by Zaidy. v

1Cahal Fundraising For Tikvah Layeled

As September 2013 came around, students settled into another year of goals, aspirations, and individual growth. One junior high school class in Torah Academy for Girls began their year with a strong focus on supporting the education of other children as well as their own. The students, attending the sixth through seventh grade Cahal class in TAG, were introduced to the Tikvah Layeled Foundation, an educational and therapeutic center in Israel, which provides individually tailored therapy for children and young adults with cerebral palsy (CP.) The goal of Tikvah Layeled is to improve the quality of life of children with CP so that they are independent and active and can participate in everyday life to the best of their abilities. Tikvah Layeled has been improving children’s lives for over 30 years and has recently embarked on a mission to build a magnificent new campus in Jerusalem to better serve the children in their care. The TAG girls, together with their teacher, Morah Rachel Schwartz, pledged to raise money throughout their school year to help Tikvah Layeled reach that goal.

After a heartwarming introductory session in which the girls learned the theme song for Tikvah Layeled, they began planning for their first fundraising event. They decided to make a strawberry smoothie sale for the rest of the TAG junior high. The students advertised the sale in the junior high hallway, donated most of the ingredients, made the smoothies in class, and then sold them for $1 per cup during lunch. Their first sale raised over $50!

In November and December, the girls decided to collect coins. They filled a large glass bottle with all the loose change they could collect. At the end of the month, they counted it and found they had collected almost $30!

The most successful fundraising event began in February when the girls voted to make a raffle to raise more money. They chose a $25 gift card to the local Carlos and Gabby’s restaurant and advertised the raffle to their families, in the junior high hallways, and in their neighborhoods. By the time they drew the raffle, they had raised over $100! The winner was Chaya Zakai, one of their very own classmates, which shows that sometimes the rewards for chesed may be immediate!

The girls repeated the strawberry smoothie sale in May with even more successful results! They raised over $70 by donating most of the ingredients and selling the smoothies during lunchtime. The sale was a hit and the girls had fun setting up the smoothie stand, knowing that they were contributing to something extraordinary. At the end of the year, they had succeeded at raising $274.69.

Some of the students’ thoughts on raising money for Tikvah Layeled:

“The best part of raising money for the children of Tikvah Layeled was showing how much you should care for those children. The message I want to tell others is you shouldn’t hide in the darkness. You should come out and show that you can make a difference.”

“Raising money for Tikvah LaYeled changed me because when you help others, you become a better person and then you help more and more people!”

Cahal is the special education program for children with various learning disabilities in our community yeshivas. For 22 years, Cahal has successfully educated and mainstreamed hundreds of local children. For more information or to consider placement of your child, contact CAHAL at 516-295-3666 or visit v

JCC’s Miracles Of Life

At H-W Public Library

Photo Exhibit. Compelling photographs of beloved Holocaust survivors from our community and the JCC’s Chaverim group, captured by artist and second-generation photographer, George Bogart, will be on view June 17–July 28 at the library.

‘My Memories of Nazi Germany’ with Ben Eilbott. Wednesday, July 23, 1:00 p.m. Mr. Eilbott has agreed to share his memories as a Holocaust survivor.

The Hewlett-Woodmere Public Library is located at 1125 Broadway in Hewlett. v

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Posted by on July 6, 2014. Filed under In This Week's Edition. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.