by Ralph Shapiro
Florence Gersuk Lipsky, a pillar of strength in the Washington Jewish community, resident of Leisure World in Silver Spring, will celebrate her 90th birthday on April 10 with her four children, six grandchildren and five great grandchildren at a family party in her hometown, Baltimore. She will be honored for her synagogue and community services at Shaare Tefila on April 20.
Florence and her late husband Irving were founding members of Shaare Tefila on Riggs Rd. in Washington, D.C. and helped Shaare Tefila thrive in Silver Spring, he as Congregation President and she as Sisterhood President and Board Member for 50 years, Hebrew School Administrator/Principal for 5 years, and singing with her beautiful voice in many Shaare Tefila entertainment shows and at community Israel Bonds functions. For 65 years, as a representative of the Jewish War Veterans Ladies Auxiliary, she regularly visited the Veterans Hospital in D.C. providing comfort to ailing veterans.
Florence was on the Board of the local JNF, a life member of the UJA, Israel Bonds Chairman for 40 years, and charter member of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. She was instrumental in the local Shalom holocaust survivor organization, providing the stimulus to the Holocaust survivor founding members to open up and discuss their painful experiences so their families and the community would know the details of what happened to them. She served as Chairman of the Eastern Seaboard Soviet Union Vigil effort to free Jewish prisoners suffering under Soviet anti-Semitic repression. More recently, for 15 years Florence and her husband conducted the very important Washington area Lifeline Program as volunteers. She continues her community service efforts, managing Shaare Tefila’s weekly Sabbath Kiddush staffing arrangements.