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ONE-ON-ONE WITH LINDA ARGALGI SADACKA

By: Ellen Geller Kamaras



Who  is  Linda  Argalgi  Sadacka?

Linda is a loving wife, mother, sister, and daughter who wakes up every morning with a prayer to Hashem, “Please take care of my children and I will take care of yours.” Picture a vibrant, frum, super heroine forging ahead to help her Jewish sisters and brothers, fighting for justice for the weak and helpless. Linda exudes positive energy, spirituality, and enormous emunah in Hashem.

Born in Canada, Linda is a dynamic pro-Israel political activist. When she married and settled in Brooklyn she channeled her activism into hesed. “Preventing a terrorist attack” she explained to me, “is a massive hesed.” She is an unstoppable force when it comes to helping her fellow Jews with basic needs, medical crises, advocacy, and awareness.

An extremely warm, positive, spirited, and savvy woman, Linda founded the far-reaching grassroots organization called Moms On A Mitzvah (“MOMS”) in 2013. MOMS is a team of mothers who make hesed their mission by weaving it into their daily lives.

Her  Roots  and  Journey

Linda grew up in Montreal, Canada in a traditional and kosher Sephardic home, with her Egyptian mother and Lebanese father. Although Linda says she was always spiritual, her connection to Hashem strengthened when she was twelve, and was nearly hit by a bus. To thank Hashem for protecting her, Linda started keeping Shabbat in the best way she knew how.

Linda enrolled in Vanier College, in Montreal. But coming from a sheltered Jewish community, she felt uncomfortable in a secular setting. Linda’s mother suggested she transfer to TAV, a seminary where her cousin was taking programming classes. Since computers were the new craze, Linda decided to go for it!

Linda, who describes herself as an “atypical” and a “social butterfly who gets along with everyone,” immediately connected with the diverse mix of observant students in the all-girls school. Her classmates ranged from girls from Lithuanian families to girls
from different Hasidic sects.

Linda herself become Orthodox, and although she changed her lifestyle she did not lose her individuality. She recalls, “I became an improved version of me, a better person…I watched my language, I didn’t say ill things about anybody, I had amazing friends who were of a higher caliber, girls who were b’tzniut and conducted themselves as b'not melachim.” Her family was inspired by these “improvements” and by Linda’s passion and commitment to her new life, and they followed her example and embraced an Orthodox Torah lifestyle along with her.

At TAV, Rebbetzin Sarah Feldbrand, the wife of a Munkatch Hasidic Rabbi, became Linda’s spiritual mentor. At the Rebbetzin’s suggestion, Linda attended one Torah class and was hooked! Linda still looks to Mrs. Feldbrand, now a Brooklyn resident and prolific writer, for spiritual guidance.

After taking three computer classes, Linda decided to switch to religious studies and language/literature. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English Language Arts. She followed her heart and used her education to launch a career as
a political activist and journalist.

The tragic death of her brother’s close friend, Jason Friedberg, was the turning point in Linda’s life, propelling her into pro-Israel activism and the fight against terrorism. Jason, an IDF soldier from Montreal, was murdered execution style by Arab terrorists in 1993. Jason’s three murderers were all freed in different prisoner exchanges.

Israel and saving Jews became Linda’s obsession. She organized rallies and formed an organization called SAJE, Save All Jews Everywhere, she hosted a Canadian political radio talk show called Radio Shalom, and also wrote columns and articles for The Jewish Monitor, Arutz Sheva, and many other publications.

In 1997, Linda and her mother traveled to New York to look for a shidduch for Linda. There she met Jack Sadacka, a Syrian pediatrician. On her first date, Linda thought Jack sounded like herfather. “He reminded me of my heritage and I was thirsty for that…he brought that out in me,” Linda recalls. And the rest is history! Linda characterizes Jack as a strong Jewish man, secure in his marriage and more than 100% supportive of Linda’s work with MOMS. Linda explains MOMS could not exist without Jack’s loving assistance and backing. Her children are so proud of her work, and from an early age are aware of the Jewish community’s challenges and needs, and of each person’s responsibility to help one another. Linda confided, “A very big rabbi actually gave my children a beracha that if they lessen my burden in the house they get a share of the zechut I get for the mitzvah of doing hesed.”

As a wife and mother in New York, Linda continued her work as a pro-Israel political activist and journalist.

MOMS — Transforming
Political  Activism
into  Hesed

Fast forward to 2013. Linda credits Refael Elisha Cohen, A”H, (Elisha) for the founding of MOMS. Helping Elisha was her first venture into medical advocacy. Linda heard about the sweet six-year-old boy from her sister in Houston. He was a terminally ill with an aggressive form of cancer, and was a classmate of Linda’s nephew. After speaking to Elisha’s mother and doing research, Linda sprang into action. She learned of a possible new approach by a top New York doctor. She arranged for medical aviation for Elisha, obtained housing and furniture for the family, arranged admission to yeshivot for his siblings, health insurance for Elisha, winter clothes for the family, and more.

A legion of hundreds of amazing women from the community came to Linda’s aid for all of the tasks needed to get Elisha and his family settled and secure in New York.

Elisha’s mother found out about a last resort therapy that the FDA had pulled their approval for, pending further clinical trials. The FDA could approve a "compassionate use exemption" for Elisha if they received petitions with 100,000 signatures. Linda was not intimidated, and she along with other mothers secured the signatures in under two weeks.

The FDA eventually relented, but it was too late for Elisha. Others, however, did benefit from the drug, and the achdut generated to help Elisha was an extraordinary zechut for him.

As friends offered to help Linda and worked as a cohesive group, they called themselves “Moms on a Mitzvah.” Linda relates, “We are not a well-oiled machine, we are a group of moms trying to make a difference for a fellow Jew.”

Linda is so proud of her team. She explains that each woman is a leader in her own right, and leads a specific area based on her forte. A highly regarded rabbi told Linda that her “team members working on specific causes are spared from those problems that
they are helping others with.”

Linda made valuable political contacts when fighting for Elisha, and even received a phone call from a representative of Washington D.C. telling her that President Obama saw the petition. Linda also made many connections with influential individuals as a political activist. But she is most proud of her relationships with gedolim, such as Rabbi Lopian and the Alexander Rebbe. Linda leverages her connections in the U.S. and Israel to save Jewish lives, advocate for Israel, fight terrorism, and bolster Jewish engagement. MOMS even initiated a bill that was brought to the Knesset. Linda always vets her project proposals with a posek first, which differentiates MOMS from other organizations.

Her networks even led to Linda meeting the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge! Rebbetzin Feldbrand encouraged her to go saying, “You never know what good will come of it!”

MOMS has grown beyond Linda’s expectations, initiating life-enhancing, life-extending, and life-saving activities.Its mission is “to provide direct, personalized support for Jewish individuals and families facing challenges.” MOMS focuses on these three areas:

1)   Basic Needs – MOMS supplies winter clothes to impoverished families, helps to remove children from abusive homes, and collaborates with many organizations on diverse projects.

2)   Advocacy – MOMS arranges medical aviation of terminally ill patients to the best NYC hospitals. MOMS created a Coma Checklist for family members whose loved ones are in a coma in order to ensure the required life-saving medical care is performed. The checklist was circulated to Bikur Holim offices in tri-state NY hospitals, Canada, and Israel. Vaad Refuah, a health care advocacy group, included the checklist in their Friends and Care training program.

3)   Engagement – MOMS delivered essential supplies to IDF soldiers during Operation Protective Edge and created Project Soulmate which has made many successful shidduchim in
the community.

MOMS is proud that it can account for every dollar donated,
and is becoming a 501(c) charity. To donate to MOMS, please
email Calomira@aol.com, subject line “MOMS.”

Ellen Geller Kamaras, CPA/MBA, is an International Coach Federation (ICF) Associate Certified Coach. Her coaching specialties include life, career, and dating coaching. Ellen can be contacted at: ellen@lifecoachellen.com (www.lifecoachellen.com).