We dedicate the learning in the month of Nissan as an Aliyas Neshama, Rachel bas Berel, Renée Aron, our beloved wife, mother and grandmother and great-grand mother.
She was a true Aishes Chayil, who dreamed of attending seminary when she was younger, studying Torah and Judaism the way you are now. She would have been the most dedicated and inspired student of your wonderful seminary. We dream of how she would have relished the opportunity to finish work each day, hop on a bus, and dash to a seminary like yours, where she would have taken every class available to her.
Our mom grew up in a home that had deep rooted pride in being Jewish and, although her home was secular, she was spiritually connected to Hashem her entire life and yearned to become more involved in Judaism.
An important influence on Renée growing up was her beloved grandmother, Pirah Bryna, who was a deeply religious lady and showed her the beauty of living an observant life.
Renée was a brilliant student, and received a scholarship to go to University, but family circumstances required her to become a secretary and get a job. Later she married into a traditional family, and over time, became Shomer Shabbas, and raised three children whose families are Shomer Shabbas. Her family was everything to her, and her grandchildren were the centre of her world. Each family had a day of the week where the grandchildren would come over and she would be totally absorbed by them, playing with them, feeding them, and teaching them about Hashem, Mitzvos. She would tell Torah stories, each specifically designed to meet that child’s personality and related to what they were dealing with.
Rachel took every opportunity to study, and earned a University degree as a mother of three teenage children. She studied Classical Hebrew, and continued her Jewish studies at the BAYT and Aish Thornhill when she moved to Canada from South Africa.
Rachel lived and breathed her love and connection to Hashem. She believed with all her heart that everything was from Hashem and that Hashem would always look after her. As Shabbas approached she would transform her home and her being with the light and glow of Shabbat, even when she was weak from illness. She said Tehillim every night, dedicated to various family members, friends and acquaintances who were suffering. Her trademark was her SMILE. She epitomized greeting everyone with Sever Panim Yafos, a good countenance. At her Shiva every visitor talked about how she made everyone feel heard, special and her chesed in every interaction. It is a testament to her that, on hearing of her passing, so many people, including the produce man from Sobeys, and the cashier at Tov Li, cried.
Rachel has left a big hole in our world and the world at large – that of love, light, honesty, love of Torah and Yiddishkeit. Her lesson to us were numerous, however if we could single out just one for us to emulate in this month of Nissan it would be to greet everyone with a Smile, to genuinely greet a person with joy at seeing them.
We hope that you wonderful young women will learn from and in Rachel Bas Berel’s memory.
Issy Aron, Michael and Karen Aron , Ken Kraft and Beverley Aron , David and Gavriellah Fihrer, children and grandchildren.