Today many thousands of people around the world were deeply upset to hear of the passing and tremendous loss of Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis on Tuesday, August 23, 2016.
On Wednesdays I usually attend my weekly Torah class with Rabbi Yisroel Jungreis. Today is Wednesday and it was with so much sadness felt by all who knew the Rebbetzin that today was her funeral.
When I realized that I could not get to the funeral on time I noticed the email from HINENI advising there was the live stream for all that could not physically get to the Levaya. I quickly passed on the link to one of my daughters who was driving from Washinton D.C. and she was able to access it on her phone while in the car. I called my Aunt G in Florida and helped her get onto the link as well. We, like everyone around the world, wanted to pay our respects to Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis, for that was all one could at least do.
We sat in front of the screen captivated with the tributes that were given, but even more significant was the feeling that only the Rebbetzin could generate in one room. Everyone was naturally at full attention but the hearts were as heavy as could be. The message from all who spoke, from her brothers, her sons, sons in laws and some of her eldest grandsons along with other Rabbis had one common bond in their words of Rebbetzin Jungreis. Over and over again I heard about how much this great Jewish woman GAVE and GAVE AND GAVE to everyone that crossed her path. They all spoke of her unlimited strength to help with kind words, and so much about her abundance of advice with all of life’s trials and tribulations. The kindness that she preached and also spread was beautiful and sincere and genuine, but her most impressive dedication to Judaism, the Jewish people and to our country of Israel was what she wanted for us all. It was also repeated throughout the service that Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis reached everyone through her possession of so much LOVE.
Rebbetzin’s family members, her children and grandchildren and brothers and friends and Rabbis stated one after another just a few anecdotes to their speeches revealing how she showed up in life wherever she was needed, all the time and at any time of day or night and in many places all over the world. They spoke of one great motto and lesson of the Rebbetzin which was: to do as I do-and not to do just as I say. Yes she did indeed set the example beyond any expectations. The Rebbetzin was on a never ending mission!
How sweet to hear of how the Rebbetzin was always the first one to show up when a grandchild or great grandchild was born, it was told how she would arrive even before the spouse at times. One of her young grandsons proudly spoke of how his Bubba was the Rebbetzin of the world. He also could call her anytime and many times spoke with her until late hours of the night or early morning rather, and ultimately slept over along with a delicious feast of some sort. How fondly they all recalled how she guided them much like she guided all of us that knew her. Another grandson spoke the words of his Bubba and said something that I also always felt about the Rebbetzin-which was how her passion sounded as if she was there on Mt. Sinai. The power and passion flowing from her never ceases to amaze us all and her grandson went on to say there will never be anyone like her again. This is unfortunately so very true! They went on to recall their Bubba’s energy particularly for Friday night and Shabbat dinner, how impressed they were with her. She listened to them all and once again their was a common thread through the speeches and it came down to the amount of love that they knew they received from their Bubba from all she did and all she taught and spoke of. She, as one grandchild said, was their link to the past.
The truth is there are really no adequate words when someone like this passes because no amount of words could convey the depth of such a woman that Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis was. I, as a student of Rabbi Yisroel Jungreis, felt so upset to see him on this day and also all of the Jungreis family who have to cope with their own personal loss. My thoughts are with you all and Baruch ha Shem for all you gained and we too by having Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis as your mother, mother in law, grandmother, great grandmother, friend, teacher and sister. A remarkable human being!
May we all carry on the legacy of Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis, as she would want it to be.