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
 
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!"