Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Shooting Star

Barbara Bensoussan

Have you ever caught sight of a shooting star tracing its dazzling trajectory across the heavens? It seems to appear out of nowhere, lights up the sky for a moment, and then is gone, all too soon. Avigail Rechnitz a”h was one such shooting star.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Avigail Rechnitz, a brilliant, creative young woman, arrived in Los Angelesshortly after her marriage. As the Rechnitz businesses flourished, Avigail left a successful legal career and devoted herself to creating a small empire of chesed, revitalizing the local Bikur Cholim and transforming it into a major resource for theLos Angeles community.

“Avigail wouldn’t want to be portrayed as some sort of ‘angel of chesed,’ ” says her brother Mordechai Wakslak. “She grew into that role and became more spiritual through it. It was always her nature to step into any situation that required fixing and apply herself toward righting it. The more she helped people, the more she found self-fulfillment.”

Tragically, after many years of helping the sick, Avigail joined the ranks of patients battling life-threatening illness. Within a couple of years she was gone, leaving a gaping void in the hearts of everyone she had touched.


Superwoman to Supermom

Avigail’s wedding photos show a slim, dark-haired girl with a quietly gracious air. Her naturally regal presence was underscored by her height — she was 5’10”, a perfect match for her super-tall husband, Yisroel Zev. As sister-in-law Tamar Rechnitz describes, Avigail was “always poised, very classy and elegant.”

Avigail grew up in Long Beach, New York, the oldest of four; her father Rabbi Chaim Wakslak is the rav of a shul. “She was always a powerhouse,” he relates. “Even as a little girl, she’d come to shul, sit quietly during the drashah, and organize groups for the children.” Her playful, creative side found expression in skits and poems for family, shul, and school.

The Wakslaks set early examples of community involvement for their children. “My parents had the attitude that you don’t live for yourself. They were always involved with helping others, sending food to people, and we always had guests at our table,” says brother Menachem Wakslak, a cardiologist who took a position inLos Angelesshortly before his sister became ill.

Though Avigail’s first career plan was psychology, her father — a psychologist himself — discouraged her: “The job entails carrying the weight of other people’s troubles.” Ironically, when Bikur Cholim later dominated her life, she did nothing but take on other people’s troubles.


To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

The Fortunes of War
Rabbi Moshe Grylak We’re still feeling the fallout of the First World War
Some Lessons, But Few Portents
Yonoson Rosenblum What the midterms tell us about 2020
Vote of Confidence
Eyan Kobre Why I tuned in to the liberal radio station
5 out of 10
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin Top 5 Moments of the Kinus
Day in the Life
Rachel Bachrach Chaim White of KC Kosher Co-op
When Less is More
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman How a good edit enhances a manuscript
It’s My Job
Jacob L. Freedman “Will you force me to take meds?”
They’re Still Playing My Song?
Riki Goldstein Yitzy Bald’s Yerav Na
Yisroel Werdyger Can’t Stop Singing
Riki Goldstein Ahrele Samet’s Loi Luni
Double Chords of Hope
Riki Goldstein You never know how far your music can go
Will Dedi Have the Last Laugh?
Dovid N. Golding Dedi and Ding go way back
Battle of the Budge
Faigy Peritzman Using stubbornness to grow in ruchniyus
The Challenging Child
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Strategies for raising the difficult child
Bucking the Trend
Sara Eisemann If I skip sem, will I get a good shidduch?
The Musician: Part 1
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer "If she can't read she'll be handicapped for life!"