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Nothing but the Truth

Eytan Kobre

From defending the underprivileged to winning millions in damages for brain-injured children, Sandy Rosenblum’s legal career has run the gamut. With roots in both Albany and Monsey, the New York bar star looks back on a long career to distill lessons of integrity and faith.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The bonding substance Sandy uses to meld together his parallel universes is called emes, the unadorned truth. Growing up in Cohoes, a town ten miles north of Albany that counted 30 Jewish families among its 20,000 residents, Sandy learned all about this truth at his father’s knee. Isaac “Rosey” Rosenblum was in the cattle business, says Sandy, “and when he weighed out meat and would bring it to the goyish customers, they wouldn’t ask him to weigh it again. Everyone knew that when Rosey delivered meat, if it said 272.5 pounds, it was 272.5 pounds and not a quarter-ounce less. “My father didn’t keep Shabbos the way Shabbos is meant to be kept. But when the shaichet said that the one cow my father brought from the country to fill orders for the kosher butchers in Albany was treif, I never heard my father say, ‘Oh, take a look again. Maybe it’s okay…’ ” Although the family wasn’t fully religious, the Rosenblum home was suffused with the values of the alte heim, which his parents brought over to these shores in 1921, his father hailing from near Grodno and his mother from Slonim. When he says that “as a kid I felt like I was standing with a leg in two worlds — one in Slonim and one in Cohoes,” the litvishe pride is thick enough to cut with a knife. Sandy’s early memories of Cohoes are indelible. “My parents brought a very strong sense of emunah with them from Europe, which permeated our household. My mother could quote you Tanach and ‘Perek,’ and could freely translate the machzor at a glance.” That, in turn, was the result of her own upbringing. “When my grandmother would come home from the marketplace, having seen Rav Mordche’le Slonimer on the street” — he was a baal mofeis renowned throughout Lita, to whom even the goyim would go for brachos — “she’d say, ‘Mir velen hoben a guten tog, ich hob gezehn Reb Mordche’le.’ [We’re going to have a good day, I saw Rav Mordche’le]. My mother would say that on the Yamim Noraim, the ground shook under your feet as you walked to shul. These things had their influence.”

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