American Jewry mourned on Thursday the petirah of a legendary woman whose myriad acts of chessed touched the lives of thousands.
Since her arrival in America some six decades ago Mrs. Miriam Lubling, a”h, was famed for non-stop activities on behalf of others. Her steely determination and indomitable spirit opened up door after door in her relentless efforts to help the ill and the needy. In awe of her total selflessness and extraordinary dedication to helping total strangers, doctors, hospital officials and others found it impossible to refuse her requests. Patients and family members were often left without words with which to express to express their immense gratitude, many would refer to her as Rebbetzin Lubling as a sign of respect and affection.
She was 96 years old.
Miriam Lubling, nee Albert, was born in the city of Kinsky, Poland. Sarah Schenirer was at one time a guest at the home of her grandfather, and Miriam subsequently became a student of the famed founder of the Bais Yaakov movement at her seminary in Krakow.
Years later, she related how she came to Eretz Yisrael on the last ship, at the end of the summer of 1939, before World War II broke out. With great hashgachah, she received a certificate, and when her father went to the Imrei Emes of Gur, zy”a, to ask if he should allow her to travel, the Rebbe said, “Let her go. She will arrive in peace.”
In 5701/1941, she married her husband, Reb Yaakov Lubling, z”l, also a Polish refugee.
In the early 1950s Reb Yakov Lubling was sent to America by the Chazon Ish after he was injured by a fall, and just didn’t seem to be getting better. “In America they’ll help him to heal,” the Chazon Ish said.
The doctors in New York were indeed the right messengers — they discovered that a blood clot caused by the fall was preventing Mr. Lubling from fully healing, and so the family settled in for a long stay. The three Lubling children were all of marriageable age, and one by one they married and settled in New York. Upon Mr. Lubling’s recovery, he and Mrs. Lubling briefly went back to Eretz Yisrael, but realized immediately they needed to be with their children, and so in 1963, they returned to New York to stay.
Having been the wife of a long-term patient at NYU for several years, Mrs. Lubling knew firsthand how desperately the Jewish community needed representation there. She began to work tirelessly as an advocate for the frum community, arranging food and places to stay for patients and their families, but realized it was just the tip of the iceberg.
When Mrs. Rivkah Laufer, a friend of Mrs. Lubling, passed away, Mrs. Lubling approached Mrs. Laufer’s husband with an idea — “I have $1,000 put away,” she said. “You give me another $1,000, and we’ll create a Bikur Cholim in your wife’s memory.” Mr. Laufer agreed, and so the Rivkah Laufer Bikur Cholim was born.
The Rivkah Laufer Bikur Cholim went on to become one of the largest organizations of its kind, providing a long list of crucial services including transportation and life-saving equipment for hospitals, financial support for destitute patients, medical advice for all those in need and acting as liaison to medical professionals.
For 40 years, Mrs. Lubling was a well-known mechaneches. At the same time, she devoted huge amounts of time to visiting hospitals and referring patients to doctors and was able to get appointments for people when no one else seemed to be able to. She encouraged the downtrodden and bereaved, visited people who had no children. Even politicians could never turn her away. She utilized every moment in her life to do good for others. She served as member of the board of Ohel, and quietly contributed large sums to tzedakah, far beyond her means.
She was known for her tefillah, her emunas chachamim, her reverence for Rebbes and Rabbanim in general, and the Rebbes of Novominsk and Gur in particular.
Even in her 90s, she continued with her chessed activities, and was widely respected by all who knew her.
A huge crowd attended her levayah on Thursday afternoon at the Shomrei Hadas Chapels in Boro Park, where hespeidim were delivered by the Novominsker Rebbe, shlita, who spoke about how much one could learn from Mrs. Lubling about the koach of a yachid in Am Yisrael; and Harav Dovid Olewsky, Rosh Yeshivah of Mesivta Bais Yisrael, who said that Klal Yisrael made a siyum on a special masechta — a masechta of chessed with the passing of Mrs. Lubling.
At the same time the levayah was being held, her great-granddaughter’s chuppah took place in Ashdod, Eretz Yisrael. It was fitting, as she was always worried about the future generations, the continuity of Am Yisrael.
Mrs. Lubling is survived by her children: Rabbi Chanoch Lubling of Flatbush; Mrs. Nechama Frankel and Mrs. Pessy Drillick of Boro Park; grandchildren, great grandchildren and thousands of people who considered her their grandmother, mentor and someone they could turn to in a time of need.
Chaval al d’avdin v’einan mishtakchin.