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Memories of the Second Generation - Part 3 - Annette Sacks - As told to Susan Yellin

posted 31 Aug 2016, 05:24 by Lodzer Shabbat-Bulletin   [ updated 2 Sep 2016, 11:07 ]

Memories of the Second Generation - Part 3 - Annette Sacks - As told to Susan Yellin

20160628_2014_Annette Sacks.jpg

Memories of the Second Generation Part 3   Annette Sacks

When people speak of the founding members of the Lodzer Centre Congregation they often talk about the group of invigorated men who fled Lodz after the Second World War, their giant step forward in forming the Lodzer Benefit Society and their successful contributions to the building of the shul itself.

Ask Annette Sacks about what she remembers most about the shul when she was growing up and she quickly refers to the most influential role model in her life – her mother, Luba Drewnosky -- and the countless contributions she made as head of the women’s auxiliary for 40 years. Luba z”l garnered so much respect for her work and her ideas that she was seen by many as an honourary co-president of the shul.

Together, the women of the Lodzer made teas, luncheons, dinners and dances, raising funds for different non-profit organizations, including the shul and the Soldier’s Fund.  

The ladies would stand side by side in the small but busy kitchen making tiny, open-face sandwiches: chopped egg on the bottom topped with a shtikl herring or other fish, says Annette.

One day, Wendy Yudell z”l, who took over for Luba as president of the women’s auxiliary, decided to honour Annette’s mother with a luncheon. Annette volunteered to hold it at her home.

“I just remember all the ladies in my kitchen. They took it over. I had suggested we order party sandwiches and we bring in some other food but that was never going to happen – they had to make it from scratch the way they always did,” says Annette.

“I remember standing at the side and both laughing and crying because they were such a group – everything was done together even though they had their arguments going back and forth.  They made the weirdest concoctions – they had done it for 40 years that way and they weren’t about to change.  They wouldn’t let me do much either. These women were a force to be reckoned with.”

Like other founding members, Annette’s father, Leon Drewnosky z”l, took as much of an active role in the construction of the shul as he could. Leon was in the scrap metal business, often working from 6 am until about 4 pm every day. By 4:30 pm, he had come home, showered and walked over to the construction site on Heaton Street “to make sure” the builders hadn’t made a mistake and laid the bricks incorrectly.

“That was his passion,” says Annette. “It was important that he went every day.  That was such a big thing in all their lives – to be building a synagogue and it was going to be called the Lodzer.”

For the first 20 years of the shul’s existence, the Drewnosky family took up the first two rows of the sanctuary. Other members kindly asked after any of the family who didn’t attend that day’s service and welcomed newly married spouses with open arms.

“All the members there were like extended family,” she says. “Being there was just like home.”

To those who still attend the Lodzer, that family feeling prevails.

“It’s a community that starts to feel very comfortable around each other. We all have the same values because we all belong to the same community. That’s how it works.”