web analytics
March 7, 2015 / 16 Adar , 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
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a joint meeting of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., the United States, calling for rejection of a bad nuclear deal with Iran, on March 03, 2015.
Post-Bibi Bipartisanship May Result in Congressional Ability to Review Iran Deal
Latest Sections Stories
Schonfeld-logo1

Occasionally, a teacher will encounter a student who simply cannot be motivated to do his homework, finish his worksheet or study for a test.

Kupfer-030615

Times have changed and divorced people have sadly gone from being singularities to almost a sub-community.

Glimpses-logo-NEW

The ship’s captain apparently respected the Friedenwalds’ strict adherence to halacha because he allowed them to use his cabin for davening and other religious observances.

Bottles of wine accompany the Pesach storytelling – each glass of wine represents the four expressions used by G-d in describing the redemption of the Jewish people from Egypt.

There is a point that many parenting books miss: children do more for us than we do for them.

Brigitte was a nine-year-old girl when Islamic militants launched an assault on a Lebanese military base and destroyed her home.

The husband needs to make some changes!

Purim is a fantastic time for fantasies, so I hope you won’t mind my fantasizing about how easy life would be if kids would prefer healthy cuisine over sweets. Imagine waking up to the call of “Mommy, when will my oatmeal be ready?”… As you rush to ladle out the hot unsweetened cereal, you rub […]

‘Double Gold’ awarded to 2012 Yarden Heights wine & 2011 Yarden Merlot Kela Single Vineyard.

One should not give the money before Purim morning or after sunset.

The mishloach manos of times gone by were sometimes simple and sometimes elaborate, but the main focus was on the preparation of the delicious food they contained.

One of the earliest special Purims we have on record was celebrated by the Jews of Granada and Shmuel HaNagid, the eleventh-century rav, poet, soldier and statesman, and one of the most influential Jews in Muslim Spain.

Jews, wake up! Stop educating the world and start educating yourselves.

More Articles from Malkie Schulman
Schulman-101014-Shabbat

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

Schulman-100314-Magen-Yeladim

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: