Recent Letters

From Manuel M. Sand

Sunday, July 18, 2010


There are few people one meets in life who make a lasting impression on you. People with dynamic personalities although they are soft spoken, people who are quiet, yet get things done, people who are always busy yet have time for everyone, always.

Such a person was the late Rabbi Leib Kramer zt’l, my friend, my teacher, my guide.

I could possibly fill many pages about Rabbi Kramer, although this is not the purpose, however I would be remiss if I didn’t relate some of the many experiences each of which were very memorable, and to this day stand out as milestones in our lives thanks to his wisdom and advice at the right place, and the right time.

Rabbi Kramer was so admired by my late parents Mayer & Bertha Sand z’l that no major decision was ever taken without asking Rabbi Kramer’s opinion. Often he referred the questions to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, and promptly got back with an answer, and many times just discussing a family problem with him brought forth the required answer and decision solving a dilemma.

Our first experience with Rabbi Kramer was when both I and my sister Shany fell ill with polio the time was 1943, and the Rebbe was the late Rebbe Schneersohn. My Mother of blessed memory was worried sick, we lived in a small town in Bathurst N.B., and his reassuring reply from the Rebbe not to worry and that everything would be alright saved our sanity.This is not the place to describe the worry and fear we went thru, but the message was not just delivered, it was told to us in a calming, reassuring manner as only Rabbi Kramer could do.

When Esther Ella and I decided to move to Israel, and my dad z’l was very upset, he asked me to go to speak to Rabbi Kramer hoping he would convince me to delay our decision for a few years.

I did go to see him and we spoke for a long time, he explained to me about how my parents were aging, the long distance, the insecurity, etc. and finally we made our decision to go in spite of his recommendation.

Years later we had the privilege of hosting Rabbi Kramer in our home when Rabbi Kramer also had children in Israel. He took me aside and sat me down, having met our children and seen their progress, He asked me if I recalled the conversation I had prior to going on Aliya, when I answered affirmatively he said,

“You were right, I was wrong. You made the right decision”

How many people are great enough to admit making a mistake, but this was his greatness.

Many years later, Esther Ella was successful in convincing her nephew to begin following a religious lifestyle (baal teshuva) so where should she go ? you guessed it Rabbi Kramer.

I accompanied her to his home and we sat in his small office and told him about it asking how to proceed further.

I’ll never forget it, he sat there for a full ten minutes not saying a word, just thinking, and finally he said I’ll ask Shneur (his son in law)if he will undertake to teach him. I don’t have to tell you the hours that he invested helping him, but the results are another Torah observant family.

Rabbi Kramer was everyone’s Rabbi. He was a friend, consultant, advisor, and could mix with everyone, Frum, secular, more observant, and less observant, Hassidim, Lithuanian, you were always comfortable in his presence.

May his memory be blessed. He was responsible for so much good, and mitzvoth, which continue to this day by his wonderful children, and the institutions he erected which are spreading Yiddishkeit to all.

May his soul be bound up among the souls of the living.

In modest gratitude to my dear friend Rabbi Leib Kramer z’l and his family.

Manuel & Esther Ella Sand.