Rosa Leah Radinsky

My Great Grandmother Rosa Leah Radinsky

My Great Grandmother Rosa Leah Brenner was born in 1850 in Kovno, Lithuania (Russia).  Her father was a logger.  She married my Great Grandfather David Radinsky in 1873. He was born in 1853 in Slobatska Lithuania (Russia) and was a graduate of the Rabbinical College in Vilna, Lithuania. They came to New York in 1890, moved to St Louis in 1891 and then moved to Denver in 1892.  Rosa Leah, with a small group of dedicated women, later initiated the fundraising and founding of Ezrath Nashim Hospital in Jerusalem, which became the first psychiatric hospital in Jerusalem and the Middle East.  The founding women were active by taking care of the hospital, visiting the sick, running the office, and keeping the books.

In 1902, the entire Radinsky family of 10 traveled to Israel so that Rabbi David Radinsky could pursue religious studies in Mea Sharim in Jerusalem.  I remember my Grandmother Eva, the youngest of the family, who told me her memories of that time where that they lived amongst the very religious.

Rosa Leah later moved in with her son Chaim Radinsky to Afula, Israel.  Rosa Leah is buried on the Mount of Olives Cemetery (in the Hishin Bloc), Jerusalem in recognition of her efforts to start Ezrath Nashim Hospital. In 2003, I learned about Herzog Hospital from a relative who was also researching family history and learned that Ezrath Nashim still existed, but was renamed Herzog Hospital.  I subsequently learned from Stephen Schwartz, the International Director of Herzog Hospital, that they did not know who the woman was in the center of the historic picture of the founding ladies of the hospital.  Since then, I have corresponded and met with Stephen Schwartz and associates to help tell Rosa Leah’s unique story.

Current Israeli President Reuben Rivlin’s relatives were also founders of Ezrath Nashim. His mother Rachel served on the hospital’s board for over 30 years. In the 1980s, Ezrath Nashim was renamed Herzog Hospital after Rabbanit Sarah Herzog who served as the volunteer President of the hospital for almost 40 years. She also founded the World Emunah religious-Zionist women’s organization.  Rabbanit Sarah Herzog’s husband was Rabbi Isaac Halevi Herzog, the first Chief Rabbi of Israel. Their son, Chaim Herzog, was the President of Israel.

It’s taken me 20 years to piece together this family history which was not well documented.  Now that I fully understand my great grandparents’ contributions in the United States and Israel, I am very proud of their legacies.

Written by Great Grandson Sam Herzberg who grew up in San Francisco and now lives in San Carlos, California 7/21/2017