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Every Woman’s Birthright

Shoshana R. Meiri

At the moment of birth, she cried. Dozens of times; every time. Hansy Josovic a”h, Prenatal teacher to hundreds of women, birth supporter at scores of deliveries, was filled with wonder again and again as she watched the miracle of a child emerging into the world. On her 21st yahrtzeit, Family First shares the strength, vision, and never-ending wonder that were Hansy’s hallmark.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Hansy Josovic became a prenatal teacher almost by chance. Expecting her sixth child, she decided to learn tools to enhance her upcoming birth and enrolled for classes with the UK’s National Childbirth Trust (NCT). After experiencing firsthand the benefits of childbirth education, Hansy realized the pressing need for community-wide knowledge. Although she knew that many women in her Stamford Hill kehillah could gain from NCT classes, the mixed classes and jarring attitudes meant that most would never join.

Never one to leave a void unfilled, Hansy, along with her friend Mrs. Rachel Klien, registered with the NCT to train as prenatal teachers. Rachel Klien wasn’t able to finish the training, but she encouraged Hansy to go ahead. Two years later, Hansy opened her first class: a vibrant blend of information, reassurance, and spirituality. She encouraged her ladies not to fight birth, but to embrace it — to trust in Hashem and allow Him to lead them through this powerful experience.

Tall and striking, Hansy — an affectionate version of Chana — was vivacious, approachable, and regal. Her daughter, Sorele Craimer, notes, “Although my mother was dealing with such personal things, she never allowed herself to loosen her language. She was dignified all the way through.”

Like the Biblical Puah, Hansy’s reassuring presence calmed nervous women, and her lessons were extremely popular. Rachel Klien describes Hansy as articulate, warm, empathetic, and exceedingly confident. “She had a way of making birth manageable. [She believed that] you cannot take away the pain, but you can change birth from a negative experience to a positive one.”

“Her classes were full of life and fun,” said one of Hansy’s “ladies,” as she affectionately called the women she taught. “She explained everything so clearly and beautifully. Birth was something to look forward to without the slightest dread, while she made it quite clear that having a baby is not a picnic.” 


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