Part 1: My Mother Dina Rosiansky – The “Angel in White”
Although I am an only child, my mother had thousands of children, all loved and cared for by her. They affectionately named her “Deenush, our Angel in White.” (Remember the times when the nurses wore all-white uniforms?)
Deenush, aka Dina Rosjansky, the beautiful young nurse in Municipal Hospital #4 in Vilnius, Lithuania in the Soviet Union, and later on the head nurse of the oncology department in Tel Aviv’s Hadassah/Balfour hospital, had dedicated her life and career to taking care of cancer patients, some as young as three months old. Cancer does not discriminate, all ages fall under the spell of this mysterious disease.
The pain, the sorrow, and the ordeal of the patients, their families and friends were eased by the confidence of Dina’s superb medical knowledge and skillful treatment, and softened by the caring love she bestowed on all.
The warm touch of her strong hand, a reassuring hug, the chicken soup and a sandwich for those waiting all night in the hospital’s corridors to hear the fate of their loved ones, have made this incredible woman a mother to so many.
Exhausted, after 12 to 14-hour workdays, my mother would rush home, often walking seven miles. She would climb to her fourth floor apartment, just in time to cook supper and bring a wonderful smile and loving Yiddish greetings “Mein lichteke and tayere kind”(my bright and dear child) to her only child.
Inserting my hand into her handbag, I would always find an apple or an orange, a real treasure in those “good old days” in Vilnius. I knew that she always thought about me.
And as the times changed, modern technology added a high-tech elevator on 45 Kaplansky Street in Givatayim, Israel, but Deenush still enjoyed climbing four floors of stairs to her beautiful apartment #10.
Sadly, I lost my beloved mom four years ago. Holding her in my arms until, with her last breath, she whispered in Russian, “Ya tiebia ochen’ liubliu” (I love you very much), I tearfully parted with the world’s most admired, loving, and adoring mother. On this Mother’s Day holiday as we gather with my family for this special festivity, Deenush is and always will be a part of our lives.
Part 2: My Grandmother Ida’s Dress
Pictured in the photo is a dress fashioned by Ida Rabinovich (maiden name Torodeyko), who was the favorite fashion designer and seamstress in town and who owned a very exclusive Couture Atelier in Poland, where the rich and prominent were outfitted in the most beautiful dresses designed and created by Ida.
Ida was born on January 21, 1898 in Grodno, Poland, daughter of Moshe and Keyla Torodeyko. Moshe was a shoemaker and Keyla was a housewife. Ida started her profession as a dressmaker in 1915, at the age of 17 and eventually employed seven seamstresses. Ida, who was known for her generosity and love of people, worked long hours from dawn to dusk, in order to support the college education of her siblings: four sisters and one brother, and later on, as a single mother, to pay for the best education for her children: Dina and her two brothers, Yehuda and Moshe.
Ida had many clients, including the wealthiest ladies in town. Mrs. Starovolsky, who was married to the richest man in town, the owner of a bicycle factory in Grodno, was one of Ida’s regular customers and the owner of the dress pictured in this photo.
When the Soviet Army occupied Eastern Poland in 1939, the Starovolsky family, being capitalists, was exiled to Siberia. As it happened, this saved their lives, since they avoided the German occupation. This is also how the Ida’s dress survived as well. Mrs. Staravolsky carried her favorite dress from Poland to Siberia and, eventually, to Israel.
Ida Rabinovich perished on February 13, 1943 during the Grodno ghetto liquidation by the Nazis.
In 1956, Ida’s daughter Dina immigrated with my father, Boris Rosiansky and me to Israel, where Dina received Ida’s dress as a present from Mrs. Starovolsky, who was living in Israel by then.
This magnificent and delicate silk dress with lace trimming, which I may add, is in perfect condition and could easily be in-style by today’s fashions, was given to me seven years ago by my mother Dina. It is the sole item from my family’s inheritance which was touched by the hands of Ida, Dina, and me as well as my daughter Leora and granddaughter Mira.
Thus, symbolically, Ida’s mother’s love was passed on to the four generations of women that followed her. Happy Mother’s Day!
Lina Broydo immigrated from Russia, then the Soviet Union, to Israel where she was educated and got married. After working at the University in Birmingham, England she and her husband immigrated to the United States. She lives in Los Altos Hills, CA and writes about travel, art, style, entertainment, and sports. She hardly cooks or bakes, not the best of «balabostas» her beloved beautiful mom, Dina, was hoping for. Therefore, she makes reservations and enjoys dining out.