web analytics
July 3, 2015 / 16 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Sharing With My Extended Family


Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

From time-to-time, I share my personal semachos with my extended family, you, my dear readers of The Jewish Press. So it is my zechus (privilege) to publish, in this column, an article that my daughter, Slovie Jungreis Wolff (Hineni lecturer and author of Raising a Child With Soul) wrote for Aish.com, on the occasion of the Bat Mitzvah of her daughter Aliza.

Dear Aliza,

Twelve years ago there was still much sadness in my heart. I missed my Abba, your Zaydie, on whose shoulders you had never been carried. And then, the night that Passover was over, great joy returned. Your sweet soul brought life into this world.

I remember saying the Shema to you that very first moment I held you. Your tiny little hand curled round my one finger. Holding you brought me peace. I was comforted. We asked your bubba for a name. Bubba, your beloved grandmother, is the “keeper of the names.” After surviving Bergen-Belsen as a little girl and losing her zaydie and bubby along with so many cousins, aunts, uncles and life as she knew it, Bubba refused to relinquish their names. Until today, your bubba holds onto their sacred memory and tenaciously remembers each and every name.

Bubba likes to tell the story how, when I was first born, the nurse entered the room and asked for my name to record on hospital records.

“Slova Channah,” Bubba said.

“I’ll come back when you’re feeling better, dear,” was the nurse’s immediate reply.

I have always carried the name of my great-grandmother, Rebbetzin Slova Chana, proudly. Knowing that my name is unusual and certainly not typically American never daunted me. As a little girl my name seemed to whisper to me and remind me of whom I am. And as I grew, I have come to understand that I am the bearer of my bubba’s torch. Her light must shine through me despite the blackness of her death.

She lived her life giving of herself to others, immersed in holiness until her final moments when she perished in the flames of those unbearable times. She left this world with the Shema on her lips. And then years later, the same Shema was on mine as I held you for the first time.

So when you were born, of course, we came to Bubba and asked for your name.

“Your Abba, Zaydie, had a most beautiful sister,” she told us. “She was known to be kind and wise, always with a bright smile and great love for life. She was taken away by the Nazi Gestapo… never married, seen or heard from again. Abba Zayda missed his sister so. Her name was Fraidel, which means joyful. It is a perfect name for our sweet baby. Let’s add the name Aliza,” Bubba advised. “Aliza is the Hebrew version of the Yiddish, Fraidel. With G-d’s help, this baby will always bring us joy.” So the name Aliza Fraidel became your noble legacy.

I tell you all this, my precious Aliza, because now it is your turn to bear the torch. Turning 12 is the age of understanding for you, my sweet child. As you come to embrace the mitzvot with new understanding, it is important that you know from whence you’ve come. It is only when you know where you have come from that you can know where you are going.

We live in such difficult times. I know how hard it is to grow up in today’s world. So many challenges, so many fears. I know that at times your world will seem overwhelming, even frightening. My precious Aliza Fraidel, never forget from whence you’ve come. Never forget your name.

Take this legacy with you, wherever you may go. Remember too, that the root of the word neshamah (soul) is shem (name). If you would like a window onto your soul, grasp onto your name and never allow its presence to leave you. You have been called after a most righteous woman who died al Kiddush Hashem, sanctifying the name of G-d. Her holiness will accompany you throughout your life. You will always be reminded of your noble mission, just as I have been, as your name gently whispers to you and reminds you of your roots.

At your Bat Mitzvah, we asked Bubba to say a few words so that she might give you her blessing. The girls in your class were sitting in front and Bubba took a moment to look at them before she began to speak.

“I know that it seems strange to you that I am crying,” Bubba said, “but you see, when I look at all these beautiful girls sitting together as one, I am overwhelmed. When I was a little girl, there were no Bat Mitzvahs. There were no girls laughing, singing and dancing together. We did not even know if there would ever be more Jewish little girls. We could not imagine that we would survive. And here you are! A new generation ready to stand up and live a life of Torah and mitzvot. Girls who, with G-d’s help, will one day build your own Jewish homes and bring new light into our world. Who would have believed this?”

And so, I want to thank G-d for allowing me the privilege to rebuild. We came from the ashes and now look! G-d has, in His great kindness, blessed me with children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. All loyal to His Torah, all walking in the path of our people.”

Bubba asked you to come up so that she might bless you. As you stood before her, Bubba placed her hands on your head and through her tears gave you her blessing.

As your mother, it seems daunting for me to put my blessings for you into words. Words are so limiting and my hopes and prayers are boundless. I have so much to say, so many supplications rest within my heart.

You know, Aliza, that since you were a baby, we had a tradition together. I would sing you the Shema, and you would fall asleep contentedly in my arms. As you have grown, you still fall asleep with a prayer on your lips but you have added your own traditions. Each night, you conclude your bedtime prayers with a private plea to G-d. You ask G-d to bring refuah sh’leimah, a full recovery and healing to those who are ill. And then I hear you say the names of so many… mothers, fathers, children, babies, all in need of G-d’s healing balm. You do not even know many of these people, but you have heard their Hebrew names being given for Psalms.

I pray that you forever feel compassion for others. I pray that you walk in the ways of our mothers, Sarah, Rebeccah, Rachel and Leah. I pray that you forever remember your name, your legacy for life and your holy roots. And as you grow into a bat Yisrael, a daughter of Israel, may G-d bless you with all His blessings, watch over you, and guide you so that you may be a source of true nachat to our family, our people and our G-d.

I love you forever.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Sharing With My Extended Family”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Palestinian Authority Arabs climb a section of Israel's separation barrier in the village of Al-Ram, as they try to avoid crossing Israeli-controlled checkpoints to reach the al-Aqsa mosque compound at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City to attend Friday prayers in the fasting month of Ramadan.
Arab Killed in Rock Attack on IDF Commander, IDF Soldier Hurt at Qalandiya
Latest Judaism Stories
Rabbi Avi Weiss

With Ruth, The Torah seems to be stating that children shouldn’t be punished for the sins of parents

Neihaus-070315

Without a foundation, one cannot hope to build a structure.

Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

Why do we have a parsha in Sefer Shemos named after Yisro who was not only a former idolater, but actually served as a priest for Avodah Zarah!

Q-A-Klass-logo

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times, alternating hands? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining to young children? What is the protocol if no vessel is available? Additionally, may we dry our hands via an electric dryer?

Harry Koenigsberg
(Via E-Mail)

This Land Is ‘My’ Land
‘[If The Vow Was Imposed] In The Seventh Year…’
(Nedarim 42b)

The Shulchan Aruch in the very first siman states that one should rise in the morning like a lion, implying that simply rising form bed requires strength of a lion, in line with the Midrash.

Attempts to interpret the message of Hashem in the absence of divine prophecy ultimately may twist that message in unintended ways that can lead to calamitous events.

Suddenly, the pilot’s voice could be heard. He explained that this was a special day for those passengers on board who lived in Israel.

If the sick person is thrust into a situation where he is compelled to face his sickness head on, we who are not yet sick can encourage him by facing it with him.

All agree that Jews ARE different. How? Why? The Bible’s answer is surprising and profound.

What’s the nation of Israel’s purpose in the world? How we can bring God’s blessings into the world?

“Is there a difference between rescuing and other services?” asked Ploni.

To my dismay, I’ve seen that shidduch candidates with money become ALL desirable traits for marriage

Bil’am’s character is complex and nuanced; neither purely good nor purely evil.

Amalek, our ultimate foe, understood that when unified, we are invincible and indestructible.

More Articles from Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

To my dismay, I’ve seen that shidduch candidates with money become ALL desirable traits for marriage

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Zaidie’s legacy of smiles and loving words was all but buried with him, now the family fights over $

Jewish survival in a dysfunctional world requires women assuming the role Hashem gave them at Sinai

In every generation is the challenge to purge the culture of our exile from our minds and our hearts

His mother called “Yoni, Yoni!” Her eyes, a moment earlier dark with pain, shone with joy and hope

Pesach bonds families and generations: “So that you may relate it to your son and your son’s son.

Amalek’s hate never dies; its descendants are eternal & omnipresent; Hashem is our only protection

I try to be observant, davening daily, but it hasn’t awakened my heart or my mind or changed my life

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/rebbetzins-viewpointrebbetzin-jungreis/sharing-with-my-extended-family-2/2010/06/23/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: