Rabbi Kret was the rov of our shul from 1950 until 1997, when he retired. He was educated at the Bais Yosef Yeshiva in Bialystok and went on to establish a yeshiva in his home town of Ostrow Mazowiecka. As a young man, he visited the great Torah sage, the Chofetz Chaim. The Chofetz Chaim blessed the young Rabbi Kret with long life. This blessing came true in that Rabbi Kret passed away in 2007 at age 97. May the memory of the righteous be for a blessing.
I am saddened to report that Mrs. Chana Kret passed away today (November 15, 2010) after a long illness. I unfortunately did not have the zekhus (merit) to know her well, but I would like to share what I learned about her at her funeral today. She was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother. Mrs. Kret was born Chana Lichtenfeld and grew up in a wealthy family in Berlin. The family was on vacation when the war broke out, and Mrs. Kret and her parents were arrested and exiled to a labor camp in Siberia. Her parents both died, but Mrs. Kret survived and there she met Rabbi Jacob Kret, her bashert. She traveled with him from Siberia to Germany after the war, and from there to the United States, where her husband took the pulpit of the Old Broadway Synagogue. There she and Rabbi Kret worked to build up the shul (which needed a lot of building up, and could still use some). She helped recruit new congregants, and hosted the many guests which her husband brought home. She did not complain despite very modest circumstances, and she was very creative, I recall visiting her and Rabbi Kret a number of years ago at their apartment on the Lower East Side. I noticed that they had a number of presentation awards that were given to Mrs. Kret in the 1960s. They were from Manhattan Day School, where Miriam and I believe Norman went to school, and the awards acknowledged Mrs. Kret's excellent work there. When I asked her about it, she told me that she created costumes for the students, if I recall correctly, for a school Purim play. I saw later evidence of this talent when I saw some wonderful photos of some of her grandsons, who for Purim, she dressed up as some rather convincingly cute girls. Her grandson, Aryeh Mezei spoke about how she loved to give, and I recall that for every Shalosh Seudos, she made a special dish for one particular congregant. Whenever I visited or whenever I phoned, she was warm and genuine. She always asked about my family and the other members of the shul. She will be deeply missed. Yehi zikhronah livrakhah - may Mrs. Kret's memory be for a blessing.