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On Rosh Chodesh,
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis
urges women to increase their
Special to the Jewish News
e must listen with our
heart," implored Rebbetzin
Esther Jungreis. "HaShem
(God) is calling us."
The emotion-packed words of Rebbetzin
Jungreis, author and longtime columnist at
New York's Jewish Press, caused tears to well
in the eyes of many attending her talk at the
Jewish Community Center in Oak Park.
The internationally acclaimed lecturer,
cable TV host and founder of the Hineni
outreach organization addressed more than
250 women on Oct. 6, which corresponds
to Rosh Chodesh (the first day) of the
Hebrew month Cheshvan. .
Machon L'Torah's Uniquely Ours pro-
gram sponsored the rebbetzin's talk, in
conjunction with the JCC Women's Rosh
Chodesh monthly lecture series.
The program was funded in part by the
Jewish Women's Foundation, a grant-making
educational branch of the Jewish Federation
of Metropolitan Detroit.
noted that Rosh
Chodesh is consid-
ered a special holi-
day for women.
"Like the first
sliver of the new
moon in the night
sky," she said,
their natural opti-
mism, can bring
increasing light to
a dark world.
is trying to spread
Slim and pol-
ished, with every
hair of her blonde
sheitel in place,
the rebbetzin has a
sweet voice with a
lilting Hungarian accent.
Smiling while on the verge of tears, she
spoke about "the generation of pain" in
which we now live: the Holocaust, 9-11,
terrorism in Israel, personal pain and illness._
"Sometimes, the pain is so bad, we can't
see the beauty and majesty of life," lamented
Rebbetzin Jungreis, who is a survivor of the
German concentration camp at Bergen-
She called upon audience members to
increase their Jewish commitment.
"We are living in the time of chevlai
moshiach," she said, referring to the era
immediately preceding the arrival of the
She quoted the talmudic dictum that
promises protection at this precarious time
to those who busy themselves with Torah
study and good deeds.
If Jews don't listen to their Jewish lead-
ers, the messages are sometimes sent
through non-Jews, Rebbetzin Jungreis said.
Noting that President George W. Bush
asked Americans to pray after the 9-11 ter-
rorist attack, she asked: "Why isn't the
president of Israel asking for prayer?"
At Bush's prayer session in the
Washington Cathedral, held just prior to
Rosh Hashanah on Sept. 14, 2001, the
Friday following the World Trade Center
attack, "coincidentally," she said, "the bib-
lical selection read was that of matriarch
Rachel crying for her children to return —
the Haftorah of Rosh Hashanah!"
"Furthermore, the closing prayer was
the 27th Psalm ("God is my light and my
salvation; whom should I fear?), the very
psalm added to the Jewish prayer service
during the holiday period.
"Why would they pray this?" she asked
Continuing, the rebbetzin said, "The
president asked all Americans to light can-
dles . . . that evening . . . at 7. That was
lichtsen (candlelighting) time for Shabbos!"
she cried. "Do we get the message?"
Jungreis also told several stories that illus-
trated the importance of acts of chesed (kind-
ness) and loyalty to the Jewish tradition.
"These are majestic days," she concluded.
Let's respond like majestic people." 0