TLC Alumnae and Members Celebrate Grandma Rosie’s 100th Birthday at LINK

By

Bracha Turner

TLC members and alumnae assembled in LINK’s central lecture hall on Tuesday, November 3rd.. The room reached overcapacity in celebration of the 100th birthday of TLC director, Sarah Gertel’s, grandmother, Mrs. Rosie Kamen, affectionately called “Grandma Rosie.” The subject of the evening was, “You’re Never Too Old to Grow.”

Following Grandma Rosie’s comical address to the girls, there was a shiur by Rabbi Shlomo Goldberg who elaborated on the effect of optimism in overcoming adversity. Then, the girls lined up to receive blessings from Grandma Rosie who lovingly and patiently granted everyone a bracha. At the end of the evening, a small raffle was held in recognition of Grandma Rosie’s optimistic spirit and her perpetual ambition to win the lottery.

Grandma Rosie recounted that as a twelve year old she had a speech impediment but she would speak as if she did not know the difference. The speech impediment lasted until she was 17 years old and did not phase her whatsoever. Instead she chose to, “accept the worst and make it better,” and she instructed the women to do so themselves. She was a treasure-trove of stories and recounted with a broad grin how, despite having a broken back, she personally cleaned up her apartment after her dishwasher broke and flooded the entire room.

Her entertaining personality was a pleasure to behold and she waved to her grandchildren and beloved fans like a celebrity. She told the crowd that she presently works full time in advertising and after her driver drops her off, she puts aside her walker and stops shuffling, walking into the office with gusto and pride. “I want to make history!” she exclaimed. “It’s only a number!”

“Every mitzvah you do is a blessing from G-d,” she instructed the ladies. “You are a special neshama (soul) because you come from Hashem.” At the end of the evening, she granted a souvenir for everyone to take home; a nightly journal to learn self-appreciation and love. “If you do,” she promised the girls, “you’ll still have a sense of humor to survive in this world.” She urged the women in a similar vein to teach others self-confidence.

A takeaway lesson of the evening was that thoughts can change reality and we must remember to give even someone we dislike the benefit of the doubt. This can actually cause someone to change. Moreover, attributing a positive spin to any situation of doubt can also cause oneself to change in the process. Seeing others for their potential actually promotes their wellbeing.

Grandma Rosie encouraged the ladies to think of someone to help and overcome, whatever it takes to do this, despite any perceived hardships. She gave a motivational pep talk, “Make it positive! Make it happen! Never say never! Hashem will help you help them. And do mitzvos!” she added with a twinkle in her eyes. More attentive than even the youngest woman in the audience, Grandma Rosie listened and learned with the girls, bridging a bond of Torah from youth to maturity.