Photo Credit: Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

The Rebbetzin gave him her card and said, “Check it out and come see me sometime and I will teach you about it.” He pocketed the card with a laugh.

Seven years later a young man came to the Hineni Center wearing a suit and a black hat and all the other trappings of an Orthodox Jew. He approached the Rebbetzin and asked if she remembered him. Her usual reply is “You look familiar” (she never wants to hurt people’s feelings when she doesn’t recognize them).


He rook out the card she had given him years before. “I didn’t forget what you told me on the plane from Portland and I checked it out. And now I’ve come to ask you if you also remember seeing a girl at Sinai who could be the girl for me.”

Sure enough, the Rebbetzin knew just the right girl. The couple got married and are now part of the Hineni family.


* * * * *


One would think that running a large organization like Hineni, writing a weekly column for The Jewish Press, and raising a beautiful family (all of whom are now actively part of the Hineni adventure) would leave the Rebbetzin very little time for anything else. However, during these years she has also written five books with the sixth, Be a Blessing: The Purpose of Man, due out in the near future.

In addition to all that, she still flies all over the world spreading her own version of outreach. Her father’s blessings have definitely come true, as she has returned so many lost Jews to the fold.

And she doesn’t let anything stop her – not a broken hip and not a torn meniscus. She just keeps going. How, I ask her, does she keep up a pace that would tire a much younger person?

“I take my inspiration from Tehillim,” she replies. “The psalm for the Sabbath day – Psalm 92, verses 15-16: ‘They are vibrant and fresh even in ripe old age and proclaim how our Lord is right, His word inerrant.’”

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Naomi Klass Mauer is the co-publisher of The Jewish Press.