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"The idea of bringing people back to Yiddishkeit was inside me from my childhood days."
What is it about a diamond that makes it the most valuable gemstone known to man?
I was deeply saddened by the petira of Mrs. Irene Klass, a"h, wife and daughter of Rabbi Sholom Klass, z"l and Mr. Raphael Schreiber, a"h, founders of The Jewish Press. Although our paths only crossed once - and just for a minute - that one very brief encounter had a lasting, positive impact on the quality of my life. The handful of words that Mrs. Klass, a complete stranger, said to me ignited a flicker of light on the gloomy road I was on, a light that was to grow stronger and brighter with the passing of time. Almost comically, this encounter took place over 25 years ago in a swimming pool at the Homowack Hotel in the Catskill Mountains of New York.
I was in Brazil, speaking to the Jewish community of Sao Paulo, when the sad news of the petira of Irene Klass reached me. Many memories, many scenes, many conversations and experiences flashed through my mind. With Irene's passing, a whole era - a whole way of thinking, of values, of goals, of idealism - disappeared. Irene had a sense of mission and never allowed politics, petty jealousies or territorial considerations to influence her.
As someone who was intimately involved with the trials and tribulations of this newspaper for over a decade, both as a reporter and editor, I was privy to many of the fascinating stories that revolved around Rabbi Sholom Klass, zt"l, and his rebbetzin, Irene Klass, a"h.
Irene Klass, the cofounder and publisher of The Jewish Press, the first nationally-distributed Orthodox Jewish newspaper in the U.S., died last week. She was 94.
On Monday November 21, the 15th day of Kislev, at 11:00pm, Mrs. Irene Klass, the Publisher of The Jewish Press and Editor Emeritus of The Jewish Press Magazine section, passed away. At the same time, her daughter, Naomi Klass Mauer, was at the airport, getting ready to escort the aronof her husband, Dr. Ivan Mauer, to his final resting place in Eretz Yisrael. Mrs. Mauer wrote the following hesped for her mother while on the airplane.
When Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch started dating his wife, they realized she was four years his senior. She, being a good German woman, suggested that maybe they call if off because she was older than him. He looked at her and said, "Lady, for what I have planned I need a mature woman."