Mrs. Henya Lasky was born in 1921 in the city of Stryj in Galicia. She grew up in a strong pre-war Polish community. Her earliest memories of how genuine Yiddishkeit was kept was by going as a “supervisor” with the family maid to the milk farm, in order to ensure the milk would be chalav Yisrael. She would recall how the maid carried a locked bucket, which the farmer opened, poured in the milk and then locked again.

She passed away on March 25 due to complications from COVID-19.

She was the only child of Eliyahu and Cipa Gottesman. Her father, a Torah scholar and brilliant accountant, used to be called on by the Polish government to help them when the need arose. Known for her brilliant mind and mathematical acumen, Lasky was studying in university to be a chemist when World War II broke out.

She and her parents merited many miracles in surviving the war. Her parents gave all their money to a non-Jewish Polish woman who hid them in her home, and unlike many others, did not give them up. They lived for 18 months under a table, hidden by a tablecloth, reciting chapters of Psalms, all the while hearing the Gestapo marching outside the window, not knowing if someone had betrayed them. In order to ensure that neighbors would not hear extra noise emanating from the apartment that would give them away, Lasky stayed up entire nights to be able to wake her parents if they snored.

Upon the conclusion of the war, she and her parents left Poland. After a brief stay in France, they emigrated to America. While in France, she worked as a bookkeeper for the Lieberman and Rubashkin meat factory. She was gifted linguistically and spoke six languages fluently. When she arrived to the United States, she worked as a secretary for the American World Jewish Congress.

With the passing of her mother, she married Aron Lasky, with an agreement that her father live with them. She displayed exemplary respect and honor for him, caring for him in his old age single-handedly, until his passing.

The Laskys made their home in the Williamsburg, Brownsville, and later, East Flatbush sections of Brooklyn, N.Y., where she and her husband were instrumental in keeping the dwindling community alive. When the Rebbe—Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory—instructed people to remain in the declining neighborhood, Aron would daven every Shabbat in three neighborhood shuls with prayer services at different times in order to keep each of them open. He often arrived home well after 2 p.m. after services.

Upon moving to Crown Heights to be near her family, Lasky, a highly intelligent woman, was a familiar presence at classes for women at 770 Eastern Parkway, the headquarters of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement. She accompanied her husband every morning to Borough Park so that he could learn Torah at Kollel Zekeinim-Agudas Yisroel up until the week of his passing at the age of 95.

Most recently, she was a daily member of the Shalom Senior Center, and a congregant of Rabbi Shain’s Shul. She was known for her refinement, modest personality, warmth and deeply rooted Yirat Shamayim. She said the entire book of Psalms each day into her ripe old age, for as long as she had the stamina. She left a rich legacy of bringing pre-war authentic Yiddishkeit and uncompromising values to contemporary America.

She was active until the week of her passing, and lived with her daughter and grandchildren.

Lasky is survived by her only child, educator Cipi Junik, in addition to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

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