By COLlive reporter
Rebbetzin Shula Shifra Kazen, matriarch of a large Lubavitch family, passed away on Motzai Shabbos Tzav, 17 Adar II, 5779.
She was 96.
Known for her unique and unwavering personality, throughout her life Rebbetzin Kazen steadfastly stood up for Yiddishkeit behind the Iron Curtain, first with her parents, then together with her husband, and then as a legendary Shlucha, building Jewish life in Cleveland, Ohio for over 6 decades.
Born in Russia, Rebbetzin Shula, along with her siblings, survived many hardships and relentless persecution while fighting for survival together with her mother, Rebbetzin Maryasha Shagalov (nee Garelik) obm, after the communists arrested her father, the famed Chosid Reb Yitzchok Elchonon Shagalov obm.
Rebbetzin Shula married Rabbi Zalman Kazen obm, son of the famous heroine Mume Sarah Katznelenbogen and a teacher in the underground yeshiva movement of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. The wedding was held in secret, and the only women there other than the bride were her mother and mother-in-law.
Rebbetzin Kazen’s quick thinking and courage saved her family’s life on more than one occasion. On the train escaping Russia, Shula left her sleeping children with her husband and walked to the next car. When she returned, she saw her husband frozen with fear as the conductor yelled, “These are forged passports!” The conductor had noticed that their daughter Esther’s hair was red, and her passport picture showed a brown-haired little girl.
Wagging her finger at her sleeping daughter, Mrs. Kazen said, “I told her not to play with dye! Now look what happened to her hair.” Miraculously, the conductor accepted that explanation.
In 1953, Rabbi and Rebbetzin Kazen arrived from the Soviet Union, via Paris, in New York City together with their six daughters.
With the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s encouragement, Rabbi and Rebbetzin Kazen and their family settled in Cleveland, Ohio where Rabbi Kazen served as Shochet, Rav, Chazan and Mashpia to hundreds of people.
Together the Kazens served the Cleveland Jewish community for over 6 decades, leading the Zemach Zedek Shul, where their commitment and selflessness became legendary. The couple dedicated their time, effort and resources to help Jews regardless of affiliation. Hundreds of grateful families have fond memories of Rabbi and Rebbetzin Kazen.
She is survived by her children, Mrs. Devorah Alevsky, Cleveland, Mrs. Henya Laine, Brooklyn, Mrs. Bluma Wineberg, Kansas City, Mrs. Rivka Kotlarsky, Brooklyn, Mrs. Rochel Goldman, Johannesburg, and hundreds of grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren across the world.
She was predeceased by her daughter Mrs. Esther Alpern, a pioneer of Jewish life in Brazil, and her son Rabbi YY Kazen, founder of Chabad in cyberspace and Chabad.org.
She is also survived by two sisters; Mrs. Rosa Marosov, Crown Heights and Mrs. Rochel Liberow, Brooklyn.
The levaya will take place Sunday, leaving Shomrai Hadas in Boro Park at 1:30 pm and passing by 770 Eastern Parkway at 2:30 pm.
Shiva will be at 658 Montgomery Street # 1C.
To share memories with the family, email [email protected] .
Baruch Dayan Ha’emes – Shula Shifra bas Yitzchok Elchonon Halevi