By COLlive reporter
Lieba Schwartz, a resident of Crown Heights and devoted friend to many, passed away on Motzei Shabbos, 13 Sivan, 5782.
Lieba was born as Marcia Schwartz in 1940. Her parents moved around a lot in her childhood, she once told in an interview in the Jerusalem Post. Even as a kid, she sought spirituality. “Who is God? Where is God” she remembers asking her parents. “They said, ‘We’re Jewish. We don’t believe in God,’ so I assumed they meant that Jews didn’t believe in God, not just that my parents didn’t believe.”
So when she began a systematic search of a dozen religions as a teen in Miami, Judaism didn’t make her list. The most appealing faith was one “with no idols or images” – Christian Science. After college, Schwartz worked for Christian Science and became one of its lecturers, though not “practitioners” – those designated to pray.
She told of losing her eyesight and her journey to become a baal teshuva.
After learning more about Judaism, Schwartz started using her Hebrew name “Lieba.” She was frequently invited to lecture about her return to Judaism. She called her speeches “More than the eye can see, from darkness to light,” a discussion of her odyssey; little realizing that she’d leave her actual darkness behind. “At the end of the wilderness, there’s a promised land,” says Schwartz.
She soon moved to Crown Heights, where residents volunteered to take her shopping, read her mail to her, and repair her plumbing. Others fulfilled her request by recording daily prayers and psalms. Line by line she memorized blessings.
With the help of her across-the-street neighbors Bronya and the late Gedalia Shaffer and their daughter Michal, Schwartz underwent surgery which restored her eyesight, she told the Jerusalem Post.
She began speaking about the beauty of Judaism, lecturing and writing about her journey, enriching the lives of many.
Lieba was a devoted friend to many – young and old, and was known for her Tehillim which worked wonders. She was also the niece of R’ Alter Simchovitz, a Chabad chosid.
The levaya will take place Sunday, passing by 770 at 1:30 pm and burial at Old Montefiore Cemetery at 2:30 pm.
Baruch Dayan Ha’emes – Liba bas Pesach.