Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



Following Her Inner Compass

Yocheved Engel

Her life spanned continents and cultures, but her rich inner values remained the same throughout. A few short weeks after her sudden passing on Chol Hamoed Pesach, Family First pays tribute to Rebbetzin Shulamit Bitton Blau, a woman whose humor and courage lit up the hearts of all who knew her.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Born in 1938 in Djerba, the legendary island of Kohanim with ochre sunsets and indigo nights, Shulamit Cohen was the blessing to her parents after over a decade of childlessness. Her father was the community’s chazzan, shochet, and melamed. Yet the tumult of the 20th century had invaded even the timelessness of Shulamit’s hometown. Ignorance of Yiddishkeit led to apathy; eventually some of Shulamit’s childhood friends stood on the brink of conversion to Christianity. Invoking her personal heroines — Rus, mother of kingship, and Esther, stalwart in her silent courage — Shulamit used her charisma and idealism to influence her childhood friends and return them to their heritage. Thankful for their daughter’s strength and yet dissatisfied with her lack of education, her father dreamed of Bais Yaakov. He had read in periodicals he received from Eretz Yisrael about the network of schools established by Sarah Schenirer and he told his daughter: “One day, you are going to have to go to a place like this so Yiddishkeit will be instilled in you.” In a clear demonstration of Hashgachah pratis, Shulamit’s father was sent by the community to Eretz Yisrael, to further his expertise as a melamed. On the long voyage, he met the Zeligmans of Gateshead. He told them of his 13-year-old daughter and his dreams for her — and they told him of Gateshead Seminary. A correspondence between Shulamit’s father andMr.Kohn, principal of the seminary, followed, and three years later, in 1954, Shulamit sailed to England.

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.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
What’s in a Name?
Shoshana Friedman “What does Writer X have to say this week?”
Atonement — Fake and Real
Yonoson Rosenblum White confessionals and faux rituals
Four Walls Coming Full Circle
Eytan Kobre All the while, there’s been a relationship in the offing...
And Yet We Smile
Yisroel Besser We are the nation that toils to be happy at all costs
Out of This World
Rabbi Henoch Plotnick Dirshu Hashem b’himatzo — we are in Hashem’s company now...
Steven and Jonathan Litton
Rachel Bachrach The co-owners of Litton Sukkah, based in Lawrence, NY
Tali Messing
Moe Mernick Tali Messing, engineering manager at Facebook Tel Aviv
Sick Note
Jacob L. Freedman “Of course, Dr. Freedman. Machul, machul, machul”
Avoiding Health Columns Can Be Good for You
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Only one reliable guide for good health: our Torah
Endnote: Side Notes
Riki Goldstein Most Jewish music industry entertainers have side profes...
Me, Myself, and Why
Faigy Peritzman Where there’s no heart and no love, there’s no point
Can’t Do It Without You
Sarah Chana Radcliffe When you step up to the plate, you build your home team
Eternal Joy
Mrs. Elana Moskowitz The joy of Succos is the fruit of spiritual victory
The Appraiser: Part III
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer Make sure your child knows his strengths
Hidden Special Needs
Rena Shechter You won’t see his special needs, but don’t deny them
Dear Wealthy Friend
Anonymous There’s no need for guilt. I am truly happy for you