web analytics
April 27, 2015 / 8 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Living For The Boss

Rebbitzen Ruchoma Shain

Rebbitzen Ruchoma Shain

Schulman-040414-BossRebbitzen Ruchoma Shain, who passed away last year at the age of 99, was a woman who carried many titles – wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, English teacher and author. While all five of her books were best sellers (All for the Boss, Dearest Children, Reaching the Stars, All for the Best and Shining Lights), it was her first book, All for the Boss – first published in 1984 and revised and expanded in 2001for which she is best known.

It was in this book that she vividly describes the life and exploits of her extraordinary father and his commitment to mitzvah observance in America in the early 1900’s. In detailing his life she paints a picture of Orthodox Jewish life in that historical period as well.

Mrs. Shain was born Ruchoma Herman in 1914 on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. The youngest of five siblings – she had three sisters and one brother – she grew up in a staunchly Orthodox home during a period of time when most American Jews believed that the institution of Shabbos was no more than a relic of the past. Her father, Yaakov Yosef Herman, had immigrated to America from Russia with his parents in 1888.  After five years of struggling to make ends meet while still maintaining high religious standards, the elder Mr. Herman concluded it wasn’t possible to do both and made plans to return to Europe.   He could not afford the boat fare for 13-year-old Yaakov Yosef, however, so he left him in America with relatives until he could find the funds to bring home. Ironically, it was the young Yaakov Yosef who saved up his money and brought his family back to America and supported them.

One Erev Shabbos, soon after his parents had returned to Europe, the relatives Yaakov Yosef was living with raised his rent.  It was not money he could afford to pay and feeling very betrayed by their actions, he left their house.  As he had nowhere to go, he spent that Shabbos on a park bench.  It was then that he vowed that when he married and had a home of his own, he would never sit down at the Shabbos table without guests – even if it meant he had to search for them on park benches.

This photo of students from the Mir Yeshiva was taken at the Nowojeinia Summer Camp, which was near Novogodek, Poland (now Belarus) (L-R) Joshua Chinn, R. Moshe Shain, Harry Horowitz, unknown, R. Simcha Weissman, Pinchas Berliner, R. Shmuel Birnbaum, Mottel Jaffe

This photo of students from the Mir Yeshiva was taken at the Nowojeinia Summer Camp, which was near Novogodek, Poland (now Belarus)
(L-R) Joshua Chinn, R. Moshe Shain, Harry Horowitz, unknown, R. Simcha Weissman, Pinchas Berliner, R. Shmuel Birnbaum, Mottel Jaffe

And that’s the way it was.  The week in the Herman household revolved around the Shabbos guests.  Mr. Herman would often comment that he had “cornered the market” on the mitzvah of hachnossas orchim.  His wife and children were his enthusiastic partners in this mitzvah, with his wife doing all the cooking and cleaning.  Mr. Herman was never particular about guests, whether they were homeless, mentally ill or distinguished rabbanim visiting from Europe, he treated them all with love and deference.  Indeed, this was one of the few homes the visiting European rabbanim would eat at – knowing they could trust his kashrus standards.

In an attempt to gain a greater understanding of what it was like growing up strictly observant almost 100 years ago in New York, I spoke with one of Rebbitzen Shain’s granddaughters.  She acknowledges that it wasn’t easy growing up Orthodox in America during that period of time, but she asserts that her grandmother never viewed her life as containing hardships. In fact, she believes that her grandmother wouldn’t have even appreciated the question. Being religious was never a burden to her.

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.

One Response to “Living For The Boss”

  1. Great Jews, we need more of them.

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), co-sponsor of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act.
Iran Legislative Compromises may Cause Nuclear Explosion in Washington
Latest Sections Stories
Reidel-042415

Several thousand Eastern European Jews had escaped Nazi death and Soviet persecution by fleeing to Shanghai, China.

Respler-logo-NEW

My mother-in-law and I have had our problems since the beginning of my marriage.

Food-Talk---Eller-logo

“People who never buy cookbooks are getting this one,” said Victoria. “They read it cover to cover and find it so interesting.”

South-Florida-logo

We have recently witnessed how other minorities deal with even perceived danger aimed at their brothers and sisters. They respond in great numbers.

The Hebrew Academy students took part in all categories and used successful and innovative techniques to achieve their goals.

“The objective behind establishing small communities as places for relocation was a remedy for the excessive cost of housing and education in the large New York metropolitan market,” Mr. Savitsky explained.

Jewish Democrats did not entirely trust the son of Joseph Kennedy, a man broadly considered to be both anti-Semitic and pro-Nazi.

The teenage years are not about surviving. They are about thriving.

Every moment was a gift. I held each one, savoring.

We arrived in Auschwitz on Thursday, January 30, 2014. My seminary was taking us to see where the prisoners were kept. When we got there, I stepped off the bus in complete and total silence. I was in the back, and when we got to the gate I hesitated and started shaking uncontrollably. I couldn’t […]

From the moment Israel was declared a Jewish state, it has been the subject of controversy and struggle.

Now that Pesach is over, we return you to your regularly-scheduled pressing questions:   Dear Mordechai, Can I use a nose hair trimmer during Sefirah? Harry Lipman   Dear Harry, Yes, as long as your nose hairs are so bad that they’re affecting your job. Like if you have a desk job, and they interfere […]

It is very natural for kids to want attention and to be jealous of each other, especially when there is a new baby.

More Articles from Malkie Schulman

Erica Pelman is a spiritually-driven woman. She is founder and director of “In Shifra’s Arms” (ISA), an organization that offers aid to pregnant Jewish women of all religious backgrounds practically, financially and emotionally. Its arms are open to any pregnant woman in need whether single, divorced, separated, or from a financially-strapped family. “Presently, we are […]

Schulman-101014-Shabbat

The power of Shabbos to heal and connect is inestimavle, Rabbi Klatzko maintains.

An issue of grave concern, Debbie shares, is the rising rate of abuse between older and younger children.

I wonder out loud how Ruchoma would have handled her father’s putting down the law so strongly had she been a young girl growing up 100 years later.

Young men singing – Hodu laShem ki Tov- and gunshots. That was the tragic mix of sounds heard that Friday night ten years ago when two Islamic Jihad terrorists climbed up to the yishuv, cut the gate surrounding the yeshiva and entered through the kitchen door of בית ועד הר חברון, Hebron Hills Torah Academy, better known as Yeshivat Otniel.

Dorit grew up in sunny Eilat. She was involved in sports since she was a young child. As a teenager she was the table tennis champion of Eilat, winning 2nd place in the southern regional competition and going on to win 3rd place in the national mixed double championship. At the same time, she was running marathons.

My name is Eli Freundlich. I was 18 and had just graduated Torah Voddath in Williamsburg. America had entered the war a few years before. I wanted to be drafted so was happy when I received my notice. It was July 1943 – July 27, 1943 to be exact – when I was sworn into the American Army.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/features/living-for-the-boss/2014/04/04/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: