My Friend Gila Rollhaus

Dear Editor:

 At Gila’s l’vayah, someone came up to me and said that I never spoke about all of Gila’s accomplishments. Of course, I was in awe of her philanthropic endeavors, her myriad acts of chesed, her volunteer projects, and political activism. To me, her most important role was being my friend. Gila and I met over 34 years ago when our daughters were in playgroup. We immediately connected. We shared a common background in that we both grew up in traditional homes but became Orthodox at a later stage. It wasn’t just our backgrounds that solidified our friendship; it was our ability through the years to read each other’s minds and finish each other’s thoughts.

What can be said about the loss of someone with whom you have shared lifecycle events as well as the joys and challenges of day-to-day life. Gila was my “go-to person.” She was so knowledgeable and well-read. I learned so much from her about everything from Jewish history, health, nutrition, politics, to how to remove stains, select a layette, or choose the best pots and pans. Any recommendations for a handyman, doctor, camp, or travel destination went through Gila.

Gila was so much fun. Much of my time off from work was spent with Gila. We went to plays, lectures, shiurim, restaurants, and of course shopping. Yes, Gila was the consummate shopper, but half of her purchases were for other people. Gila went to Israel with suitcases mostly filled with clothing for family, friends, and friends of friends. The suitcases returned with gifts for everyone else. On one occasion, she “schlepped” a painting that my daughter admired and had wanted for her new home.

Although Gila could shop everywhere, she refused to spend enormous amounts of money on clothing when it could be used for tz’dakah. Back in the day, we frequented Boltons, Dress Barn, and Ross. Of course, Gila did not neglect online shopping. Only recently she called, saying that there are these amazing sweaters on sale from Land’s End, and she ordered some for me. For better clothing, she was loyal to Shimon at Eshet Chayil. Every year, I and many others could count on their birthday gifts coming from Eshet Chayil.

Let me close with a few brief stories. Gila could never understand how I managed with just one refrigerator. When she replaced one of her perfectly fine refrigerators, she insisted on giving it to me. Sure enough, the next day, her contractor showed up in his truck with her refrigerator. Being Kew Gardens Hills, it could not get through my back door. No problem; he removed the door and installed the refrigerator. Towards the end of my mother’s life, she had a brief hospitalization on Long Island. One late night, Gila had checked in and felt that I was in no condition to drive home. Her husband Michael picked up Steve from the subway and drove him to Long Island so he could drive us home in our car.

As we know, Gila was not shy in giving advice to her loved ones. In recent years, she said to me, “Your kitchen is a disaster.” After 44 years with my old kitchen, I had to admit she was right. This summer, I was ready. Even with her illness, she went with me to see kitchens, spoke to my contractor (shout out to John), ran around Chinatown to select flooring and tiles and to Towne to choose appliances. On one occasion she brought Michael to a store to share his furniture expertise. Being close to Gila meant her whole family became your cheerleaders.

Gila, I will treasure all our precious memories forever. May your neshamah have an exalted place near the Kisei HaKavod, and may you be a meilitz yosher for your family, friends, and all of klal Yisrael.

Linda Brizel


Dear Editor:

 I don’t think that people thought Goldy Krantz was badmouthing Hatzalah. The fact that Goldy had to write an explanation last week is crazy. A real fan of Goldy’s would understand how she writes. And if she has to “be Rashi” with everything she writes about, then what’s the point? Then you lose the gist of what she’s writing and how we were meant to understand it, just as it was written.

If you’re not the sharpest knife in the drawer, then stay silent and don’t talk about what you don’t understand. Does it make sense that because someone thought she was writing bad things about Hatzalah to go to Facebook or WhatsApp about it? Goldy said she didn’t receive any email re: Hatzalah. Why wouldn’t someone email and ask Goldy what she meant instead of going to social media? This is how the Beis HaMikdash was destroyed. It seems like it was done out of hate and not “for clarification.”

Hey, Goldy: Next time just write about a man or woman who works at a “job.” Don’t specify what it is, because one of your sharp readers will think you’re badmouthing the entire profession of the person you are writing about: teachers, accountants, lawyers, doctors, therapists, artists, etc.

  R. Goodman


Dear Editor:

 Warren Hecht ended his column last week with a real cliffhanger: Was the balloon hovering over the United States sent by a rival country that was the size of three buses and filled with equipment: a Chinese spy balloon or an off-course weather balloon?

While Warren struggles with the balloon conundrum, perhaps he can tackle a few other “mysteries” for the QJL readership in future columns. Enigmas such as:

1) Was the laptop containing evidence of a slew of Hunter Biden’s crimes over the last decade really Hunter Biden’s or was it all a deep fake by Russia?

2) Who is “10% for the big guy” referring to? Is it Joe Biden or Shaquille O’Neal?

3) Was January 6 the first unarmed insurrection in history or just an overblown, glorified trespassing case?

These burning questions cry out for definitive answers that have been missing from mainstream media coverage. Columns addressing these topics would be a public service.

 Doniel Behar


Dear Editor:

 Quick! See if you can name the Oscar winners for the past two years. No, I’m not a neurologist trying to test your short-term memory. My point is that the only thing you probably recall from last year’s Oscar ceremony was “The Slap.” (Incidentally, the winner last year was CODA. I have no idea what that movie was about. I guess it’s time to get Prevogen.)

Among this year’s nominees are Everything Everywhere All at Once (huh?), The Banshees of Insherum (double huh?), Elvis (He isn’t the only one on drugs), and The Fabelmans. I’ve seen the latter two movies, and my advice to those who suffer from insomnia is to go see them. Elvis is the King of Boredom and The Fabelmans doesn’t have one character you want to even empathize with. My suggestion to Steven Spielberg and others who feel their lives are worth people’s spending $7 (at North Shore Towers on Thursdays) is to write a memoir. That’s what Bibi and Matthew Perry did, and let’s hope their lives aren’t made into movies.

My question is: What happened to great movies like Doris Day flicks? (Okay, I’m aging myself.) On my brother’s recommendation, I watched The Shawshank Redemption the other day and managed to stay awake for the whole film because there was a great narrative, and one felt empathy for the main characters.

Therefore, my advice to Steven is to go back to telling interesting stories about others. History always trumps memoirs. (Okay, so I haven’t seen All Quiet on the Western Front.) I have to finish this letter now because the Chinese food I ordered is being delivered by the balloon.

 Debbie Horowitz


Dear Editor:

 It was fascinating reading how fellow readers Jason Stark, Shalom Moskowitz, and Eric Rubin all found a way to defend their homophobia, racism, or hypocrisy.

Jason was the most direct. He suggested that I should have pride in my religion. I do have immense pride in the contributions of fellow Jews – Jews who include the late Supervisor Harvey Milk, Former Rep. Barney Frank, Randi Weingarten, US Assistant Secretary for Health (Admiral) Rachel Levine, Rabbis Sharon Kleinbaum & Steven Greenberg, Rep. David Cicilline, Gov. Jared Polis, Olympic Gold Medalist Sue Bird, the late children’s author Maurice Sendak (Where The Wild Things Are), as well as so many other Jewish Americans who are LGBTQ+. That Mr. Stark seems to have forgotten how other people followed their intolerant religious teachings to justify the slaughter of six million during the Shoah is shocking.

It also seems that Jason misses the point of Leviticus 18:5 – that we are to live by the law, not die for it, which is why Hatzalah drives to save lives during the High Holy Days. Even today, Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Lau ruled the rescue teams in Turkey should work on Shabbat to save lives.

Homophobes like Mr. Provorov and others who share Mr. Stark’s reading have caused pain that has resulted in so many suicides, hate crimes and homophobic murders that recognizing LGBTQ+ Pride could have prevented by telling people that all people are worthy of life and being loved and that nobody has the right to take this away. As a man who has been married to the same woman for more than 34 years, I will proudly wear a rainbow pin if it can help keep one person from ending their life by letting them know someone cares whether they live or die. The question is, why doesn’t Mr. Provorov care about saving that life?

It also seems that Jason failed to completely comprehend or read my letter. Otherwise, he would have understood that it was “religious objections” that prevented our proud grandparents from visiting certain hotels (hence my references to the Academy-Award-winning Gentleman’s Agreement and the Borscht Belt hotels that were created to deal with “restrictions”).

 David S. Pecoraro
Proud Former Vice President
Rosedale Jewish Center


Dear Editor:

 President Joe Biden, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer and Department of Homeland Security Chief Alejandra Mayorkas continue to claim that our southern border is secure. Comedy Central’s South Park Officer Barbrady must be their eyes and ears on the border. Concerning our record five million illegal immigrants under Biden coming into our nation, he must have reported, “Okay, people, move along, there’s nothing to see here.” Biden forgot to take credit for this since taking office in his State of the Union speech.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau boasts that Canada is a sanctuary nation welcoming all. Canada is facing both an aging nation and labor shortage. His Immigration Minister Sean Fraser has said that Canada needs 1.45 million immigrants between 2023 to 2025 to deal with these growing challenges. Let’s lend a helping hand to our neighbor to the north. NYC Mayor Eric Adams is offering free bus tickets for those seeking to continue their journey on to Canada. United States Customs and Board Patrol should follow the lead of NYC Mayor Adams. Offer a free bus ticket, charter buses or fly many of those entering our nation illegally directly to Canada ASAP. Send the rest to one of our own self-proclaimed sanctuary cities and states. Talk is cheap, but actions speak louder. Step up and adopt your own fair share of illegal immigrants.

Larry Penner


Dear Editor:

 President Biden gave his State of the Union address this past week. He did exactly what we all expect of him: He plagiarized, as he did in law school, and he lied, as he’s done his entire political career. If you go back and watch President Trump’s 2018 speech, you will see that Joe Biden copied most of it.

Then you have the lies, which the Republicans called him out on. It was disrespectful and heckling the President during the speech was highly inappropriate. However, this was an acceptable exception. This administration is constantly hiding and ducking for cover. Joe Biden has done the fewest press conferences in modern history. It finds cover in the fake news media, which doesn’t seem interested in finding the truth about anything Joe Biden, his family, or the administration are doing or have done.

The Republican response was spot on. Governor Huckabee-Sanders attacked every culture-rotting Democrat agenda item. We must continue to fight for our Constitutional Republic and win our culture back. We’ve seen how capitalism can make a country thrive. This American Marxism movement must be defeated.

 Shalom Markowitz