Sarah is likely to become an increasingly familiar face to many, since she attends every Tot Shabbat with 15 month old son Freddie (actually Alfred), and has started to attend Shabbat services as well. They live with husband, and father, Matt in West Saint Paul, who works with Les Jones Roofing, and is apparently quite the avid walleye fisherman. She works as an ultrasound technician for Abbott Northwestern Hospital.
Sarah herself is from Highland Park, with a family history that provides connections to a veritable Who’s Who of well-known Minnesota (all right, Minneapolis) Jewish businesses.
So you know, we already have one famous Linsk at this temple, but you tell me you are not related to him. What do you know about your family history?
My grandmother, my mother’s mother, was 12 years old when she was brought to Minnesota. She came from Lithuania, where she lived on a farm with her three brothers. And her father had lived in Minnesota for seven years, until he had enough money to bring them over to Saint Paul. Her name was Betty Molly Bloom.
So your mother was a Bloom growing up?
My mother was a … Bix. Her father was Max Bix, from Minsk.
That’s right, it was your mother’s mother that came from a farm in Lithuania. Do you know where?
Wow, you brought notes?
I actually know because … have you heard of Mort’s Deli in Minneapolis? Well that’s Mort Bloom, my bubbe’s brother. And so he has a Groupon right now with a little bio on it that shows where he’s from. That’s how I know.
This is where they’re from. (showing me the note recorded on her cellphone, showing Vilnius, Skaudvile, Lithuania)
I found it on Groupon. And I ask a lot of questions.
I want to get a map of the place that the Blooms are from. And to frame it, and to go there someday. And to Minsk.
And how about the other side, your father’s side?
Do you know Linsk Flowers in Saint Louis Park? They were my grandparents.
My dad’s mother doesn’t quite know how her family ended up in Minnesota. But her name was Dorothy Cohen. And my father’s father was Joe Linsk from Poland.
What do you know about Linsk Flowers?
Oh, my Grandpa Joe was looking for a business to get into, and he thought he would get into real estate. So he went to a real estate convention in Kansas City, and he met a guy there who had just bought a flower shop and said he was doing really well. So my grandpa came home and told my grandma he was going to buy a flower shop instead. And become a florist. And he did really well.
According to information on Saint Louis Park’s site, Linsk Flowers was started by Joe and Dorothy Linsk in 1948. He was trained as a florist in Kansas City, and they met at Malkoff’s Deli in North Minneapolis (there seems to be a thing for delis in Sarah’s past).
What can you tell me about high school at Highland Park?
I think I’m one of the few people that liked high school a lot. I was really active. I did softball and tennis and dance line. Did I letter? I did, I lettered in all of them. I was captain of the tennis team. I was in academic programs, like student counsel, and on the yearbook. I was Editor-in-Chief of yearbook. And also, I was the prom queen and I was the homecoming princess as a junior. When you’re a junior you’re a princess, and when you’re a senior you’re a queen.
Wow. I never knew girls like you in high school. I would just set up their projector if they needed one.
I had fun.
So skipping around, do you like to cook?
I do like to cook. I am trying to make my own cookbook, to help me along in life. Right now I’m trying to build up my crockpot section. I collect old favorite recipes, like from my Grandma Betty. I was lucky enough to learn from her before she moved into the nursing home. They are stews, and sauces, and porridge, which is oatmeal – but it’s better, because she called it porridge.
But they’re not like actual recipes. It’s a little bit of this and that. A little bit of ketchup, and a little bit of Dorothy Lynch salad dressing.
Earlier, you had mentioned that you liked English in high school, and writing. Do you write now?
I only write up ultrasound worksheets for the radiologists.
The ‘artistic’ thing I’m working on now is making collages of magazine clippings, for my patients. I sometimes form kind of a bond with them. I’m just with a person for an hour, but sometimes we get to talking, and they tell me things.
This one woman asked me “Are you Italian?” And I said no. And she asked “Are you Jewish?” And I said yes. And then she starts to tell me how she loves the Jewish people, and her uncle was actually killed for hiding Jews. And I started to get sad, and then the ultrasound was over and suddenly it’s “see you, good bye”.
Sometimes I wonder if they think we talk too much. Because it’s our trade, and we’re so skilled at what we do that we don’t even need to think about it, and we can just talk as we do it. And still get it done.
But I do all kinds of ultrasound, OBGYN, and others.
I remember before our son was born, and even though we told the ultrasound nurse that we didn’t want to know the sex, all of a sudden she said “Oh, there’s the rudder”.
Oh my gosh!
Actually, we might use the term ‘turtle’ if it’s a boy, and ‘hamburger’ if it’s a girl. If you want to use whimsical names. They actually do look different.
At this point, Sarah covered the mike with her hand as she leaned over to explain the anatomic basis for these descriptions, though not realizing that she was now leaning directly over the backup recorder that had been placed on the table between us. But you can look it up if you’re interested.
I’m sorry – it’s so common for me to talk about anatomy.
So finally, can I ask … what brought you to Mount Zion?
Between my Bat Mitzvah and getting married, I wasn’t active in Judaism. In fact, we were married by a judge in a park in Minneapolis.
When I was pregnant is when I started coming here. Then I had Freddie and I thought “Oh my God, there is a God !” And then I just knew it. So we changed. Now we talk about it, but I come here more for myself. I often think about what my mother used to say, that my grandfather was so religious. But she always complimented him about how he never pushed religion on any of his kids. I admire that.
And I picked Mount Zion. I wanted to at least give Freddie the opportunity, the exposure to Judaism. This is Reform, and I was raised Conservative, and I didn’t really understand a lot of that. So it’s a good fit, for us.
And a good fit for us.