An overflow crowd of approximately 200 people gathered on Feb. 1 to honor the memory of Shaina Charitonow, who passed away two years ago at the age of 55.
The memorial event for the second yahrtzeit took place at the Bais Haknesset Hagadol-Lubavitch synagogue in Buffalo, N.Y., where Mrs. Charitonow served as rebbetzin, and where her husband, Rabbi Shmaryahu Charitonow, is rabbi and director.
A mother of four, Mrs. Charitonow was known for the open home she kept and the many guests she invited, in addition to the friendship and support she gave to the Buffalo Jewish community.
Dr. David Lazerson, a native of Buffalo and a member of the National Teacher’s Hall of Fame, spoke on the topic of “Bringing Jewish Warmth Into a Cold World.” He encouraged the crowd to follow Mrs. Charitonow’s example by being kind to all and having a positive outlook on life. He recalled her great success in the classroom and how she brought Jewish warmth to the entire community.
Mrs. Charitonow, a native New Yorker, came to Buffalo as an educator at the age of 19. She was described at the event as a beloved teacher at the Torah Temimah School, and later, at the Ohr Temimim Day School for more than 30 years. She was also co-director of the Gan Israel camp, which serves local Jewish children through both summer and winter camping programs. In addition, she served as a mikvah attendant, instructing and encouraging Jewish woman about the beauty of this mitzvah.
Speakers and attendees noted how she influenced a generation of children with her humor, wit, joy of life and teaching style, and how her influence carries on in the lives of her former students and their families.