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Daughter of Telz: Rebbetzin Rivkah Bloch Hacarmi (1925-2012)

1945: Rivkah Bloch in Europe after the war

1945: Rivkah Bloch in Europe after the war

Though Rebbetzin Rivkah was busy raising her six children, she also devoted her energy to the mitzvah of hospitality. Many survivors and those who had fallen on hard times would enter her apartment dejected but walk out smiling. They were always well fed and given a place to sleep. Her son Rav Yehoshua Hacarmi recalls that she used to care for a mentally deranged man who would yell at and frighten the children. A well-meaning neighbor urged him to tell his mother that it was dangerous to shelter this individual. However, when he did so, she told him gently, “During the Shoah non-Jews took me in. How can I refuse to take in poor Jews?”

Devoted to the furtherance of Torah study, Rivkah freed her husband from all household responsibilities so he could learn or undertake community tasks undisturbed. She also helped him run his kollel, by typing all the letters and doing the accounts, and administered a charity fund that she had founded. The Hacarmis personally bore all the expenses of these enterprises.

At every joyful family occasion her husband would look around at their growing family and gently remind his beaming wife, “You see, Rivkah, you’re not alone anymore.”

Though this righteous woman passed away recently at the age of 87, she left many descendants who are active in furthering the causes of Jewish learning and good deeds.

The writer is an editor and translator from French, German and Hebrew into English. She can be reached at sdlfsusan@yahoo.com.

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1945: Rivkah Bloch in Europe after the war

Rivkah Bloch grew up in Telz (Telsiai), a historic township and renowned Torah center in north-west Lithuania. In 1939 the Jews of Telz numbered about 2,800, some 28 percent of the population. Rivkah’s paternal grandfather Reb Yosef Leib Bloch, (1849-1930) zt”l, also known as Maharil Bloch, was a distinguished personality and a prominent scholar and educator. Besides his position as town rabbi, he headed the great Yeshivah of Telz that his father-in-law Rav Eliezer Gordon, zt”l had founded. Its student body numbered around 400 students in 1900.

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