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Straight to the Heart

Esther Teichtal

She started with a handful of students in a miniscule apartment. Decades later, Rebbetzin Denah Weinberg has inspired more than 3,000 students to reject Western mediocrity in exchange for Jewish greatness.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Rebbetzin Weinberg’s parents, Albert and Esther Goldman, were American-born during the pre-yeshivos and Bais Yaakov days, and yet, Yiddishkeit was always their burning passion. Upon retirement at 65, her maternal grandfather attended a one-of-a-kind kollel in Hunter, New York. Because of the lengthy travel time, he learned there all week, coming home only for Shabbos. Rebbetzin Weinberg reflects on the impact this had on the family: “My mother absorbed a very strong sense of the chashivus of Torah learning.” Rebbetzin Weinberg’s father’s family originated from White Russia, though her father grew up in Providence, Rhode Island. He was the president of the White Shul in Far Rockaway, and built the mikveh there. But the community was not yet religious and the Rebbetzin did not have a single frum friend until she was 12. Still, she recalls how her father would give people rides on his way to work and ply them with Yiddishkeit. As a teenager, Denah volunteered to run a Shabbos afternoon program for girls in the shul. What galvanized her to initiate such a program? “I loved Torah!” the Rebbetzin answers in a heartbeat. “My father loved it! He may have been a salesman, but the first thing he always sold was Torah!” She pauses to reflect. “People think that striving for more will make them dissatisfied. It won’t. It’s very comfortable to be ambitious — it’s exciting!”  

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