web analytics
September 21, 2014 / 26 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



The Passing Of Irene Klass: The End Of An Era


It was with profound sadness that I absorbed the news last week that the petite, charming Irene, wife of Rabbi Sholom Klass, and publisher of The Jewish Press, returned her soul to her Maker.

 

Slight in height, Irene had the stature of a giant and was a ball of fire. A gifted poetess and grammarian, Rebbetzin Klass boasted a beautiful penmanship and magnificent vocabulary. She took tremendous pride in The Jewish Press’s Women’s Outlook section, which was her “baby,” but she contributed to all aspects of the paper.

 

If she learned of a recent divorcee or widow, she and her husband would find a place for the single mother at The Jewish Press, whether as a secretary, typist or advertising saleswoman. If it became known to her that an elderly gentleman who had led a productive life was becoming depressed after his retirement, he would find himself gainfully employed at The Jewish Press, where Irene and her husband would have the retiree surrounded by young employees who bestowed respect and honor upon him and made him feel worthy again.

 

Wherever Irene went, whether to participate in a simcha or vacation at a hotel, she would socialize and meet people whom she would hire to enhance this wonderful Torah newspaper. She loved Torah and was a true helpmeet to Rabbi Klass, whose goal was to spread Torah.

 

When I worked at the Jewish Press as an editor in the 1980′s, I would have to call Irene every week to discuss the layout and content of the Women’s section. It was before the appearance of the fax machine and since Irene didn’t come to the offices of The Jewish Press then, Rabbi Klass would bring me an envelope each week with all the articles and pictures to be featured in Irene’s magazine. I remember the first time I was instructed to call her, soon after I was hired to be editor. It was before the advent of Caller ID, and she didn’t pick up the phone. When an answering machine came on. I started speaking into the machine, leaving a message that it was Pearl Preschel calling. In middle of my sentence, I found Irene on the line. “I thought you weren’t home,” I said, “since you didn’t pick up.”

 

“I can’t pick up the phone, unless I know who it is,” she explained to me. “We get hundreds and hundreds of phone calls a day and this is the only way we can screen them, by listening to the machine.”

 

Before yeshivas and Jewish organizations had professional fundraisers, The Jewish Press served that purpose. If the worthy institutions weren’t getting free advertising, they were only spending a pittance and on credit, because the Klasses had hearts of gold and were true philanthropists. According to Maimonides, the greatest level of charity is to provide a person with a parnassah, a means of self-support. The Klasses fulfilled that mitzvah hundreds of times over. What was very special about the way they did it was that they behaved as if the employee was doing them a favor by taking the job.

 

The Agudath Israel of America owes tremendous hakaros hatov to Rabbi and Mrs. Klass of The Jewish Press. Several decades ago, when Rabbi Moshe Sherer was at its helm, Agudath Israel of American wasn’t a multi-million dollar operation with a tremendous budget and offices in many U.S. cities. The organization was not known at all except in Orthodox circles and was on a shoestring budget. Thanks to The Jewish Press, Agudath Israel became a household name and achieved tremendous power in the political world. Rabbi Sherer, who was very close to Rabbi Klass, was given free reign when it came to publicity, and Agudath Israel often had its articles and photos exhibited on the front page.

 

One time Rabbi Klass submitted an article from Rabbi Sherer that Rabbi Sherer had asked be published on the front page with its headline blaring in huge type over four columns. Rabbi Sherer was working very hard at the time on conversions according to Jewish law. Since the headline disparaged one of the movements of Judaism, I was not comfortable belittling other Jews – even if they were not acting in consonance with Jewish law – in so public a forum.

 

“Rabbi Klass,” I said, “The Jewish Press is exhibited on newsstands throughout the city. I am afraid of a chillul Hashem, because many people who are not Jewish will see we are putting down other Jews. Can’t we print this article inside the paper?”

 

Rabbi Klass said we could but advised me to receive Rabbi Sherer’s consent as well. When I called Rabbi Sherer, he agreed immediately, as Rabbi Klass knew he would. We printed the article on page 3.

 

Rabbi Sholom Klass’s deferral to Rabbi Sherer made a tremendous impression on me at the time. I learned at a later date that The Jewish Press never charged the Agudah for any of its full-page ads.

 

             It is to Irene’s credit that her husband’s entire family was part of the Jewish Press. Who could forget Lionel Klass, Rabbi Sholom Klass’s gifted and intelligent brother who worked as editor at The Jewish Press? Knowledgeable in Torah, he would spend hours at home typing up pithy Torah sayings to insert into the pages of The Jewish Press as fillers. He always had a container of vitamin C pills to administer to anyone who had a bad cold. He would regale the employees with fascinating stories and the latest medical research. He was the epitome of modesty and wrote quite a number of very interesting articles.

 

Irene Klass’s older daughter, Naomi Mauer, is the assistant publisher of the paper, and several children of Irene’s younger daughter, Hindy Greenwald, work at The Jewish Press.

 

Rabbi Klass’s nephew, Rabbi Yaakov Klass, has taken over the late rabbi’s Question and Answer column, and follows in his uncle’s footsteps with his love of Torah. His father Al Klass and mother Hilda Klass, who worked in other departments at the Jewish Press, served as surrogate parents to all its employees. Anyone who had any personal problems would find an ear with them. Rivi Rosenhal, Rabbi Sholom Klass’s sister, still delights The Jewish Press readers with her wonderful illustrations and insightful political cartoons. Rivi’s husband Harry would, from time to time, contribute his political insights in wonderful articles about Israel.

 

Very often, people would mistakenly believe that I was a member of the Klass family and would be surprised to discover I wasn’t related.

 

Now with Irene’s passing, I feel like a member of my own family has passed away. Irene, a wonderfully, talented compassionate human being will now be reunited with a giant of a man, her husband Rabbi Sholom Klass. Rabbi Klass was descended from the Maharal. Irene, who was a Schreiber, came from the family of the Chasam Sofer. In addition to their illustrious yichus, they were people with tremendous self-yichus. May their memory be a blessing.

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 “The Passing Of Irene Klass: The End Of An Era”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Mount of Olives.
Parents Speak Out Against Arab Violence on Mount of Olives
Latest Sections Stories
Calmer Times. Breslov chassidim on erev Rosh Hashanah in 2012 at the grave of Rav Nachman in Uman.

As optimistic as Menachem Rosenberg is – and he said he is going to Uman – he’s sure that this year, most of the travelers will not tour other religious sites or places in Ukraine.

Three sets of three-day Yomim Tovim can seem overwhelming – especially when we are trying to stay healthy.

Plotkin-092614

Is a missed opportunity to do a mitzvah considered a sin?

Teens-Twenties-logo

The sounds and scents of the kitchen are cozy, familiar, but loud in the silence.

Everyone has a weakness. For some people it is the inability to walk past a sales rack without dropping a few hundred dollars. For others, it’s the inability to keep their house organized.

His entire life was dedicated to Torah and he became a pivotal figure in the transmittal of the Oral Torah to the next generation.

When you don’t have anyone else to turn to… that’s when you’re tied to Hashem the closest.

While we all go to restaurants for a good meal, it is dessert, that final taste that lingers in your mouth, that is the crown jewel of any dining experience and Six Thirteen’s offerings did not disappoint.

Today, fifty years and six million (!) people later, Israel is truly a different world.

There will always be items that don’t freeze well – salads and some rice- or potato-based dishes – so you need to leave time to prepare or cook them closer to Yom Tov and ensure there is enough room in the refrigerator to store them.

In Uzbekistan, in the early twentieth century, it was the women who wore the pants.

This is an important one in raising a mentsch (and maybe even in marrying off a mentsch! listening skills are on the top of the list when I do shidduch coaching).

More Articles from Pearl Preschel Herzog

It was with profound sadness that I absorbed the news last week that the petite, charming Irene, wife of Rabbi Sholom Klass, and publisher of The Jewish Press, returned her soul to her Maker.

It was with profound sadness that I absorbed the news last week that the petite, charming Irene, wife of Rabbi Sholom Klass, and publisher of The Jewish Press, returned her soul to her Maker.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/archives/tribute-irene-klass/the-passing-of-irene-klass-the-end-of-an-era-2/2010/12/08/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: