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Spiritual Leader and Holocaust Survivor Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis Passes Away

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis was born in 1936 in Szeged, Hungary, the daughter of the city's Chief Rabbi Avraham Halevi Jungreis. After surviving the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, the surviving members of the Jungreis family settled in New York in 1947.

She married her distant cousin, Rabbi Meshulem Halevi Jungreis, who founded the North Woodmere Jewish Center/Congregation Ohr Torah on Long Island in 1964 where they drew many Jews close to Judaism. Seeing how assimilation was destroying the Jewish people, the Rebetzin founded her Hineni organization  in 1973 to institutionalize and increase her scope of outreach to American Jewry.

She offered Torah classes, singles events, Shabbat and holiday services and spoke to audiences across the United States. She wrote a weekly newspaper column dispensing advice on relationships and how Judaism invigorates one’s life. After her husband’s death in 1996, the Rebetzin’s outreach went international.

“To be a Jew is the greatest privilege,” she implored at a speech in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1999. “To be unaware of it is the greatest catastrophe — spiritual genocide.”

Rebbetzin Jungreis authored several best-selling books including “The Jewish Soul On Fire”, “The Committed Life”, and “The Committed Marriage”, all of which have been translated in many languages with millions of volumes disseminated in every corner of the globe. Her latest book – “Life Is A Test” was widely acclaimed as one of the 10 best Jewish inspiration books of all time.

Hineni posted a notice of her passing on their website, writing “Our crown has departed. Our glory is gone.”

She is survived by four children — Yisroel and Osher, both rabbis; Chaya Sora Gertzulin and Slovi Wolff — as well as many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.


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