In the middle of a Haaretz article on the New York Orthodox community and the coronavirus, it quotes Gershon Schlesinger, CEO of the ParCare Medical Centers in Brooklyn:
Schlesinger said that several members of the Orthodox community with pre-existing conditions had passed away from COVID-19. One of them was a 102-year-old Holocaust survivor of the Satmar Orthodox Jewish sect in Williamsburg. Liba Ettel Silberstein leaves behind some 1,200 grand and great grandchildren, according to her great grandson Moshe Klein.
An Israeli hareidi site fills in some details.
Lita Ettel was born in 1917 in the city of Terszell in northeast Hungary to David and Gital Glick, the youngest of ten children.
She was the only member of her family to survive the Holocaust. She came to the US and married Rabbi Natan Dovid Silberstein in 1946, and raised a family with eight children.
When she was young, when her twins Abraham and Elazar about to have their Bar Mitzvah, she had terminal cancer and was in very critical condition. Her husband was a disciple of the Satmar Rebbe, Rabbi Yoel Teitelbaum and he came in and asked for a blessing for her but the Rebbe did not want to promise anything, saying it was a decree from heaven. Rabbi Natan Dovid refused to leave without a blessing. The Rebbe’s wife heard this, came into the room and insisted that he give a blessing that should include a long life for Liba Ettel, which he did.
It turned out to be effective, as Liba Ettel recovered fully and ended up a matriarch to great-great-grandchildren, over 1200 descendants in all.
Even a couple of weeks ago, on Purim, she was healthy and walked by herself, remembering the names of all her the family and praying.
A week ago she was not feeling well, and over the weekend the condition worsened and she succumbed.
“The funeral took place only with the participation of her sons and daughters and a limited number of grandchildren who were in close contact with her, and with God’s help when the corona crisis passes, a reunion will be made with the whole family.” her grandson Rabbi Moshe Klein, of Monsey, told the website.
Klein added that “she would deliberately read the entire the book of Psalms every Shabbos and pray for her grandchildren, we would go on Friday nights to be blessed and welcomed by her.”
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