Even after the passing of Jewish Press patriarch Rav Shalom Klass, a”h, there was no question in anyone’s mind that the buck still stopped with Rebbetzin Irene. Not only was she the flag bearer for Rabbi Klass’ legacy, but also a force in her own right. The Jewish Press today, as a powerful voice of the faith-based Anglo-Jewish community, bears the imprimatur of both Rabbi and Rebbetzin Klass in equal measure.
I always enjoyed Rebbetzin Irene’s impish sense of humor, but ironically, it was not until I heard her speak at the memorial service for her beloved husband that it was on full display. Though certainly reverent and highly sentimental, her memorial address was peppered throughout with humorous anecdotes, both clever and self deprecating, opening a window into yet another side of this very unique, multi-faceted individual.
It also should not have surprised me, therefore, when I received a phone call from the talented Jewish composer, Cecilia Margolis, requesting that I perform a song that Rebbetzin Irene Klass had herself composed, and they had worked on together. Yet another facet of Rebbetzin Klass was revealed, and I am sure there were still many more.
Very rare diamonds have names: the Tiffany Yellow Diamond, the Hope Diamond, the Archduke Joseph Diamond, among others, all of which are quite different from one another. Common to all of them, however, is that they are all priceless, unique, and irreplaceable. In like fashion, I can’t possibly think of a better way to describe our beloved Rebbetzin Irene Klass: priceless, unique and irreplaceable. It is also commonly said that “diamonds are forever,” and so it is with our dear Rebbetzin Irene, whose shining legacy remains with us – now and forever.