Two heroes of the Jewish community, contemporaries chronologically but with very different life experiences, died this week.
Vladka Meed, passing as a gentile, became a Jewish resistance fighter during World War II, smuggling weapons into the Warsaw Ghetto and smuggling young children out, to live with non-Jewish families. Later, she and her husband, Benjamin Meed, helped found the Warsaw Ghetto Resistance Organization and the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors. She wrote a book about her experiences, “On Both Sides Of The Wall,” and lectured and trained teachers here in Holocaust education.
Her death, at 90, reminds us of the remarkable resilience of so many Holocaust survivors and the fact that their numbers are diminishing with each passing day.
Irving Schneider, a native New Yorker, made his fortune in real estate and his lasting mark in the Jewish community, here and in Israel, through his generosity for health, education and Jewish causes. He was the founder of the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, formerly named Schneider Children’s Hospital, and the Schneider Medical Center of Israel.
A founder member of the board of directors of The Jewish Week, he was a life trustee of the UJA-Federation of New York and served on the boards of numerous Jewish organizations and causes. His impact will be felt by countless people for many years to come.
Vladka Meed and Irving Schneider, two distinct personalities with a common cause of sustaining and nurturing Jewish life. May their memories be a blessing.