By COLlive reporter
Shaina Welner, a Lubavitch high school student who had led a global Mitzvah campaign, passed away on Shabbos, 29 Iyar 5783.
Welner was the eldest of 6 children of R’ Yaakov and Rochel Welner, a Lubavitcher couple who are active members of the growing Chabad community in Phoenix, Arizona.
As Shaina grew older, her parents wanted to provide her with adequate and authentic Chassidishe Chinuch, so they founded Cheder Lubavitch Arizona under the auspices of Head Shliach Rabbi Zalman Levertov.
Under the Welner’s dedicated leadership, the Cheder quickly grew from a few single children to a thriving educational institution with a student body of 100. It has recently added the Beis Chana Lubavitch Girls High School in Phoenix.
Shaina, like her parents, has been an integral part of the school. She was a vibrant and courageous girl who has touched the hearts of all who had the privilege of knowing her.
She possessed an incredible zest for life. Whether engaging in davening, learning, activities, sports, or in heartfelt conversations with friends, Shaina embraced every moment with boundless energy and an infectious smile that could light up any room.
Tragically, at such a young age, Shaina was diagnosed with cancer. Despite the trials and tribulations that followed, Shaina faced this harrowing battle with an unwavering spirit, demonstrating resilience, strength, and an unwavering determination to overcome the adversities that came her way.
Throughout the journey, Shaina remained an inspiration to all, teaching others the true meaning of bravery and hope.
This past Thursday, Shaina celebrated her 16th birthday and used the occasion to launch a Mitzvah4Shaina campaign for people to do good deeds in the merit of her recovery.
The initial goal, as announced on COLlive.com, was 1,600 good deeds. Within hours, students of Cheder Lubavitch, community members, and Jews from around the world sign up, amassing close to 8,000 Mitzvos.
On Shabbos day, at 11:50 AM in New York City, she succumbed to the challenges posed by the terrible illness, leaving behind a profound void in the lives of family, friends, and the Jewish community in Phoenix and beyond.
“Our community is devastated,” said Shlucha Rivky Friedman, principal of Cheder Lubavitch and co-director of Chabad of Anthem, AZ. “Shaina wasn’t just a friend. She was family.”
The levaya will begin Sunday, passing by 770 Eastern Parkway at 2 pm, and continuing in Arizona on Monday.
She is survived by her parents, R’ Yaakov and Rochel Welner; siblings Chaya, Leah, Tzippy, Yitzi, and Naomi; and grandparents Allen and Candy Welner – Scottsdale, Arizona, and Neil and Vivian Bernstein – New York.
Baruch Dayan Haemes.