Arrivals - Celebrating her 100th birthday and 47 years in Israel

Rosalind has two daughters in Israel and one daughter in North Carolina, five grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren in Israel, four grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren in the United States.

Rosalind Lerner Groob, 100 (photo credit: ALON TEKOA)
Rosalind Lerner Groob, 100
(photo credit: ALON TEKOA)
For obvious reasons, no party was planned for Rosalind Lerner Groob’s centennial birthday on July 28. But she wasn’t too disappointed. She already did her celebrating last year.
“My children wanted to plan a 100th birthday party for me and I said I’d rather have it at 99 because who knows if I’ll make it to 100,” says the Jerusalem resident. “And it seemed prophetic because had I waited till this year, we couldn’t have made it and I couldn’t have had my grandchildren from the States come in.”
Rosalind has two daughters in Israel and one daughter in North Carolina, five grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren in Israel, four grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren in the United States, and even one great-great grandchild.
Her 2019 birthday gathering was highlighted by the publication of her memoir, Keep Moving: My Life So Far.
The title could refer to her fitness philosophy – in non-corona times she swims daily at the International YMCA – but in fact it reflects her frequent changes of location.
She was born in Romania in 1920. On Purim day in 1929, she and her mother and sisters sailed to New York to join her father, who had emigrated two years before. Upon arrival, she received a new name from her American aunt.
“My name had been Elisabeta in Romanian and Etya Raiza in Yiddish, but she decided that my name should be Rosalind, like her own daughter. So from then on I was Rosalind Elizabeth.”
Rosalind met her future husband, Phil Groob, at the Young Israel on East Broadway, on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
“Somebody talked me into being the leader of a youth group there, so I went down and I saw it was a wonderful place. There were lots of young people and they organized a choir, which I started singing in. I ended up spending several evenings a week there, but I had to travel by bus to get there and home, so several boys, among them the three Groob brothers, used to walk me to the bus stop and wait with me until it came. One night, they were having a dance – they danced at the Young Israel in those days – and Phil asked me, if I would come with him and I said, ‘Okay, I’ll come to the dance.’”
When she arrived, Phil wasn’t there yet. His older brother, Irving, asked Rosalind to accompany him to a play the next Saturday night. Phil arrived later and arranged a date for Sunday night. But on both Saturday and Sunday night, it was Phil who showed up at the Lerners’ door. It turns out that the youngest Groob, Marty, had persuaded Irving that Rosalind was more Phil’s type.
After their wedding in 1943 – with Phil wearing his US Army uniform – they lived temporarily near Phil’s parents. And that may be one reason Rosalind has enjoyed healthy longevity.
“My mother-in-law was very into diet. She used to make the boys drink fresh orange juice every day. And eat only whole wheat bread. She taught me about vitamins and minerals and how to eat, so I’m careful about that, thank God,” she explains.
Rosalind and Phil started their family in Borough Park, Brooklyn. In 1949, they moved to the (then) new Stuyvesant Town complex in Manhattan and helped found the Young Israel of Fifth Avenue.
She recalls one Saturday night party at the synagogue in the 1950s at which a young fellow named Shlomo Carlebach was paid $25 to bring his guitar and lead a singalong.
Rosalind made her first trip to Israel in the summer of 1958 to visit her sister and meet relatives who had made aliyah before and after the war.
“I got to see my Uncle Dudyebasci (Uncle David) who lived in Rehovot. The first thing he said to me was, ‘Why are you wearing shoes? If you wore sandals, the sand would come in and go out.’”
The Groobs moved to Forest Hills, Queens, in 1960. Rosalind became active in Mizrachi Women (now AMIT Women), helping to raise funds for its educational and social-welfare projects in Israel. In Manhattan she had worked as a substitute teacher and in Queens she helped Phil with his accounting practice.
When the family visited Israel after the Six-Day War, the idea of aliyah began to take root.
“Rhea was married in 1964, Lenore in 1966, and Toby in 1970. Rhea and Toby moved to Israel in 1970 and in 1973 we joined them. We arrived in June and we were taken to an absorption center in Bat Yam where we planned to stay for a few months until our apartment in Herzliya was ready. Little did we know that the building was hardly begun and our apartment would not be ready for a long time.”
The Groobs found a house in Herzliya Pituach and waited a month for their lift because of a Haifa Port strike.
“I went to ulpan in September, and in December we went back to the States for the winter. Each year I would start ulpan again and then leave from December to March, so my Hebrew never improved,” she explains, although she listens to the news in Hebrew.
Their Herzliya apartment was finally finished more than three years later, but they weren’t happy there and moved to Jerusalem. Ultimately, they moved seven times within the Talbieh neighborhood. 
Phil passed away in 2009. One piece of advice Rosalind offers based on 66 years of happy marriage is to talk things out and make compromises “even if you don’t always agree, if it makes the other person happy.”
The Groobs traveled in the United States and Europe, and even went on safari in Kenya. “I don’t feel the need for travel anymore,” she says. “I just wish I could get out of the house more.”
As long as corona keeps her indoors, she exercises her mind by reading and doing crosswords and other word puzzles.
Because July 28 this year came out close to Tisha Be’av, Rosalind plans to celebrate her Jewish birthdate, the 13th of Av. We wish her much happiness and health to 120 (at least)!