Our Bubby was dedicated to the Jewish people, and after our Zaidy Rabbi Phyvle Rosensweig passed away, she dedicated a museum about the 1929 massacres in Hebron’s Jewish Community. You can read more about those massacres, and about our Bubby dedicating the museum, at this article on Aish.com: The Hebron Massacre. David Wilder, the writer of this tribute, is the Spokesman of the Committee of the Jewish Community in Hebron, and he got to know Bubby well over the years.
People, over the course of their lives, have Rabbis and Rebbetzins. But for me there is only one Rebbetzin. THE Rebbetzin, Gittel Rosensweig from Toronto.
Actually in my mind, she wasn’t really from Toronto. She was from Hebron, who, by chance, lived temporarily in Canada. That’s how close she was to Hebron.
For years and years, I don’t remember how many, probably close to the two decades I worked with the Hebron community, once or twice a year I would get a phone call. On the other side of the line I heard a distinct voice, saying ‘David, I’m here. In a few days we’re coming into Hebron.’
Sometimes for an hour, or two or three, visiting sites that she’d seen already dozens of times. Not once I told her that she could replace me as a tour guide.
The height of each visit was a stop at the Hebron Heritage museum on the bottom floor of Beit Hadassah. Many years ago the Rebbetzin dedicated the 1929 memorial room, in memory of her husband, Rabbi Rosensweig. I never had the honor or privilege to meet him, but I always felt I knew him. His picture was hanging from the wall in the museum, as well a plaque, describing him. Seeing that, and hearing from the Rebbetzin, I felt like he was standing there, next to us. And so she said, that she felt he was, from his place in the Shamayim, standing watch over us, protecting us from above, all the people in Hebron.
The Rebbetzin cared, with all her heart and soul, about all of us living here in Eretz Yisrael. She had an aura about her, radiating love, together with an unending dedication. Her smile, perhaps for people who didn’t know her, could be misleading. It was so full of affection, that some might mistake it for an elderly woman’s weakness. But she was so strong, so full of determination, with a will of platinum. And that will was certainly a driving force throughout her life, devoted to her wonderful family, friends and to all of us in Israel and in Hebron.
When Etti told me that she might not make it back to Israel, as she wasn’t well, I knew that she must really not be in good health, because I didn’t think that anything could possibly keep her from coming back over. And hearing the news of her passing, I wrote to Etti that if HaShem took her to Him on Hanukkah, it must be because He need some more lights in the heavens, and that I’m sure she would, from her place, continue to watch over us, with Rabbi Rosensweig.
And of that, I’m really sure, for miracles continue happening in Hebron, as did today, when a terrorist, bent on killing, was eliminated before he could do real damage to soldiers and civilians outside Beit Hadassah, where the museum is.
I will miss the Rebbetzin for more than one reason, but maybe because she really was the only Rebbetzin I’ve ever really had. But I’m sure that where she is now, she’ll continue watching over us, and all of her family, and all of Am YIsrael. And I have no doubt whatsoever, that she has already approached the Master of the Universe, demanding, in no uncertain terms, that He bring us Mashiach and a full Redemption, right now. And I can hear her saying quite clearly, that she won’t take no for an answer.
שתיה נשמתה צרורה בצרור החיים ו שתהיה זכרה ברוך.