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July 23, 1993 - Image 73

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-07-23

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

MITZVAH HERO

instinct or perhaps by some
kind of inner spiritual urg-
ing that a certain person
needs help."
Resident Sue Weingarten
is 93 — a kind lady, but a
little shy. She likes to join
in the planned activities at
the Federation Apartments,
but she will not go alone.
Rebecca Blumenfeld
makes it her responsibility
to escort her friend to meals
and other events.
"She does everything for
me," Sue Weingarten says.
"She is like my mother. It is
beyond good."
Mrs. Blumenfeld always
wondered what it would be
like to be a radio or televi-
sion anchor. Instead, she
worked hard all of her life
taking care of her family.
Today, she says, her fam-
ily is healthy, and they don't
need her to help them the
way others do. For her fami-
ly, she saves Shabbat.
She rolls her own challah
dough, cleans her own
home, and she walks faster
than her daughter, Sarah,
usually outpacing her by
one-half block.
Sarah Wolfson loves to
tell her favorite story about
her mother. It is told by a
rabbi who is a friend of the
family: "He says that if the
Mashiach came today, he
would first stop at her house
to eat at her table."
Raised in an observant
household in Wierbnick,
Poland, by Leibush and
Finkel Tenenbaum, young
Rebecca first learned the
importance of good deeds
from her parents-.
While still in Poland, she
met her husband, Leibel
Blumenfeld, a rabbi and a
scholar. She married him
when she was 21. He was a
shochet (kosher slaughter-
er); she worked in a grocery
store and raised their three
children, Sarah Wolfson, Sol
Blumenfeld and Alan
Blumenfeld.
Together, Rebecca and
Leibel did many nice things
for others. But Mrs.

Blumenfeld will not cite
specifics. After all, she
learned a long time ago that
one should not boast about
accomplishments. And
mitzvot, her parents taught
her, must be done silently.
"My mother was always
giving, giving, giving," she
says, adding her father col-
lected money for gowns for
indigent brides.
Her parents lived a mod-
est lifestyle during trying
times in Poland in the early
1920s. They didn't enjoy
life's little extra pleasures.
But they always had enough
food. And it would not be
uncommon for her mother to
water down her homemade
vegetable soup so less fortu-
nate people could join them
for dinner.
The Tanenbaums were
not wealthy, but Rebecca's
father couldn't stand know-
ing that some of his neigh-
bors did not even have
enough money for food.
Once, as Rebecca was
preparing soup for herself,
her mother instructed her to
leave her bowl. A poor man
was wandering outside their
home.
"I walked away. I ate a
piece of bread or something.
It was no big deal."
Several times, when less
fortunate neighbors were
not home, or when they
were still asleep, Rebecca
would take a sack of pota-
toes to the house, placing it
discreetly by the door.
She never told her
friends or the other neigh-
bors it was she who brought
the food. "You couldn't say
anything. You didn't want
to embarrass them."
Mrs. Blumenfeld has
devoted her life to following
in her parents' footsteps and
observing the command-
ments. Though modest
about doing mitzvot, she
will tell you that she makes
a wonderful vegetable soup
— her specialty, her moth-
er's recipe.
To this day, Mrs.
Blumenfeld refuses to gos-

Rebecca Blumenfeld visits with Sue Weingarten.

sip. She carries with her
many secrets. Her purpose,
she says, is to make life for
those she meets a little bit
easier.
"I am not looking for
honor," she says. "I love peo-
ple, and I love to help. I just
do this for God. He is
upstairs. He knows what I
do.
"God keeps me here to do
this." ❑

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