By COLlive reporter
Mrs. Rochel Leah Heber, a Crown Heights resident who helped set up hundreds of Chassidishe homes in her role as a Shadchan for many years, passed away on Monday, 26 Tishrei 5778.
She was 70 and suffered from a lengthy illness which she battled with great courage and grace.
Rochel Leah was born in the year 1946 in Poking, a displaced persons camp in Germany, to the illustrious Rabbi Yisroel Shimon and Chaya Sorah Kalmenson.
Her father, Rabbi Kalmenson, was one of the Chassidim who had fled Russia and was known for his scrupulous Yiras Shamaim. In New York, the Rebbe used the wine which he prepared (without sugar) yearly for Pesach.
Rabbi Kalmenson also served as the Rebbe’s Shochet on Erev Yom Kippur beginning in 5737 (1976). Following the passing of Rabi Yochanan Gordon, Rabbi Kalmenson also performed the customary Malkos on the Rebbe.
The Kalmensons were amongst hundreds of Jewish families from Russia seeking refuge in Germany post World War 2. Her birth coincided with the time Rebbetzin Chana Schneerson, was in the camp, en route to New York to reunite with her son, the Rebbe.
Together with her parents, Rochel Leah emigrated to the United States in 1949 and settled in East New York, Brooklyn. At the young age of 3, she merited to be in a Yechidus with the Frierdiker Rebbe shortly before his passing on 10 Shvat, 5710.
Rochel was educated at the newly founded Bais Rivka girls school in Crown Heights, and was one of its earliest graduates, earning the praise of her teachers and peers.
During the 1970’s and 80’s, Mrs. Heber was very active in N’Shei U’Bnos Chabad in Crown Heights, and would enthusiastically tackle each new directive of the Rebbe, ensuring it would be disseminated appropriately to Chabad women.
She was a noted shadchanis in the Chabad community for many years, and through her many years of diligent work in Shidduchim, merited to set up hundreds of Chassidishe homes within the Lubavitch community. Her wisdom and infinite devotion helped her connect couples from across the US and other continents, and see them through the various stages of Shidduchim.
A reason, perhaps, why Mrs. Heber devoted her life to matchmaking was that the Rebbe himself arranged her marriage to her husband, Rabbi Shmuel HaLevi Heber, a renowned talmid chacham and a Maggid Shiur in Crown Heights.
When the future bridegroom asked the Rebbe’s advice, the Rebbe replied with a very special response and suggested that “Zi Hut Dach Aleh Maalot” – “She [the bride] has all of the positive attributes.”
Rochel and her husband established a wonderful family, devoted themselves to building a home of uncompromising Chasidic education and values, and was fortunate to see her sons and daughters serve as Shluchim and educators throughout the United States.
The door of her home was always open to the yearly Tishrei guests who knew they are welcome for a warm meal, a seat at the table, and a listening ear. Mrs. Heber opened her home not only to family, but also to many who had no relatives in Crown Heights.
Mrs. Heber was a proud descendant of the Shpole Zaideh, often recounting his stories and qualities to her children as she endeavored to relay the important lessons that could be gleaned from his life.
In recent months, even while suffering from a lengthy illness, she battled it with great courage and grace. She was privileged to see her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren gathered together mere months prior to her passing.
She is survived by her husband, Rabbi Shmuel Heber, and her children Rabbi Moshe Heber – Crown Heights; Rabbi Levi Heber – Crown Heights; Mrs. Menucha Marosow – Crown Heights; Rabbi Menachem Mendel Heber – Long Island, NY; Mrs. Chana Lesches – Crown Heights; Rabbi Zalman Heber – Tacoma, Washington; Mrs. Yehudis Bluming, Durham – Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Rabbi Yehuda Leib Heber, Westchester, NY; Mrs. Nechama Weiser – Crown Heights; many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
She is also survived by her siblings Mrs. Miriam Blizinski of Crown Heights (family asked not to inform her); Rabbi Mordechai Kalmanson of Crown Heights; Rabbi Shalom Ber Kalmanson of Cincinnati, Ohio and Mrs. Beila Greenbaum of California.
The funeral procession will take place at Shomrei Hadas Chapels on Tuesday 11:00 AM and pass by 770 Eastern Parkway at 12:00 PM.
The family will be sitting Shiva at 568 Montgomery St. Between Brooklyn and New York Ave.
Shachris: 8:30 9:15 and 10:00 am
Mincha maariv: bizmanum
Baruch Dayan Haemes: Rochel Leah bas Yisroel Shimon.