By COLlive reporter
Crown Heights artist Chanie Chanin spent her time in quarantine during the coronavirus pandemic to drew whom she called “two outstanding personalities of our Crown Heights and Lubavitch community” who recently passed away.
The first personality she sketched was Rabbi Yaacov Schwei OBM, the elder member of the Crown Heights Beis Din and en educator for many years, who passed away on the 30th of Nissan 5780.
“Rabbi Schwei was a Rav, part of the Beis Din of Crown Heights,” she told COLlive.com. “But to me, he was my personal Rav. Even after hours at his office, he would take calls at home. Not only he was available to answer questions, but he had sensitivity, compassion and patience to listen to the details.”
After Rabbi Schwei’s passing, Chanin says she heard from many residents about Rabbi Schwei’s constant care for others. One example is how Rabbi Schwei would take an interest in her artwork. “I would send him a print with Mishloach Monos on Purim,” she notes.
She sketched Rabbi Schwei on 11×14” charcoal/pencil on paper, as well as Rabbi Leibel Groner OBM, who served as a dedicated secretary and one was of the closest people to the Rebbe for over 40 years.
“He was known to many as the man that stood beside the Rebbe, served as secretary throughout the years of leadership, and that’s how I knew him as a child,” she says, “until I met him more personally when I moved to Crown Heights from London after my wedding 22 years ago.”
Chanin says her family had the honor of hosting Rabbi Groner for farbrengens at their home on many occasions. “The stories he shared and the memories he told about the Rebbe inspired us to keep our connection strong!”
“Rabbi Groner appreciated and complimented my art, and when he would see my husband he would inquire what painting I was working on and took an interest when my husband showed him,” she added.
“The last message I received from him was on Shushan Purim, thanking me for the Mishloach Monos I left for him outside his door and telling me how my picture was very nice. It was a copy of my painting of the Rebbe walking out of 770.”
For more on her art, visit FromMyArtAndSoul.com