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Leah Halpern Raskas
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Birth: Nov. 15, 1922
Saint Louis
St. Louis City
Missouri, USA
Death: Aug. 11, 2007
Saint Paul
Ramsey County
Minnesota, USA

Saint Paul, MN

Raskas, Laeh Halpern of St. Paul and Jerusalem, Israel. Born Nov. 15, 1922, St. Louis MO. The daughter of the late Rabbi Abraham E. & Bessie Halpern and sister to the late Rabbi Mordecai S. Halpern. Survived by loving husband of 62 years Rabbi Bernard S. Raskas; children, Hillel Raskas, Eve & Steve Kafitz, David Raskas and Milo Mortenson; grandchildren, Micah and Zach Kafitz, Shoshana, Ezra, and Gabriel Raskas; sister, Fayga H. Gordon; loving nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews, and many friends. Laeh had a life long passion for the fine arts, politics and literature. She graduated with a B.F.A. from Washington University, was 20 year member of the Board of the World Joint Distribution Committee, dedicated several Jewish Social Service Facilities around the world, Past Chairperson of the UJFC Womens Division and a strong supporter and volunteer for Planned Parenthood. Funeral service MONDAY 12 noon, TEMPLE OF AARON SYNAGOGUE, 616 So. Mississippi River Blvd. Interment at Mount of Olives Cemetery, Jerusalem, Israel. Memorials are preferred to Planned Parenthood, or United Hospital Foundation, or the donor's favorite charity. SHIVA at the Temple of Aaron Synagogue (Mon, Tue and Wed at 7PM) Hodroff-Epstein 651 698-8311 Online guestbook at:
Published in Star Tribune from August 12 to August 13, 2007

Laeh Raskas, volunteer extraordinaire

By Paul Levy, Star Tribune

August 14, 2007

Other women might have asked for diamonds or furs, but not Laeh Halpern Raskas. When her husband, longtime Temple of Aaron Rabbi Bernard Raskas, asked Laeh what she wanted for their 25th wedding anniversary, she told him "two graves in Jerusalem," their son, Hillel, recalled Tuesday.

"My mother wanted to be buried in Israel," said daughter Eve Kafitz.

Raskas died in St. Paul on Friday at age 84 and was to be buried this week in Jerusalem, next to Henrietta Szold, founder of Hadassah, one of the largest women's volunteer organizations in America.

"My mother," said Kafitz, "is in good company."

Those who knew Raskas often said the same thing, said Rabbi Randall Konigsburg, current rabbi at Temple of Aaron in St. Paul. "Her husband was the senior rabbi, but the imprint she had on this congregation can be seen and felt throughout the temple."

It goes beyond the artwork on the temple walls, which Raskas chose, or the Torah covers she helped design. A tireless volunteer, she was dedicated to several Jewish social services around the world; she was a strong supporter and worked the phones for Planned Parenthood, and she campaigned for Sen. Paul Wellstone in her late 70s. She was chair of the women's division of the United Jewish Fund and Council in St. Paul.

And if you asked Raskas, a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, to list her occupation, she always did so with pride: "homemaker."She went to college when few women went to college, but she was always ahead of the curve," Kafitz said. "She had a presence -- whether it was the hats she wore or the way she set a table. She was the Jewish Julia Child. She was always reading. She painted. She had style."

She wore a "Seniors for Choice" button on her bathing suit. And she wore her heart on her sleeve.

The daughter of the late Rabbi Abraham and Bessie Halpern and the sister of the late Rabbi Mordecai Halpern, Raskas grew up in St. Louis, where she met her future husband long before he, too, became a rabbi.

"She hadn't planned on marrying a rabbi," her son said. "My father said after that first kiss, he knew that was it."

They moved to St. Paul in 1951, and Bernard Raskas retired as Temple of Aaron's senior rabbi in 1988. He led the congregation, "but my mother was in charge at home," Kafitz said.

Laeh Raskas is survived by her husband, Bernard; their three children, Hillel, Eve and David, and five grandchildren. A memorial service was held Monday at Temple of Aaron. Shiva at the temple will be held today at 7 p.m.

Paul Levy 612-673-4419

2012 Star Tribune. All rights reserved.

Family links: 
  Abraham E. Halpern (1891 - 1962)
  Bessie Feinberg Halpern (1892 - 1970)
  Bernard Solomon Raskas (1924 - 2010)
  Leah Halpern Raskas (1922 - 2007)
  Mordecai S. Halpern (1927 - 1972)*
*Calculated relationship
Mount of Olives Cemetery
Yerushalayim (Jerusalem District), Israel
Created by: Brent Stevens
Record added: Mar 22, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 87195672
Leah <i>Halpern</i> Raskas
Added by: Brent Stevens
Leah <i>Halpern</i> Raskas
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Added by: BobBoston
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