The Nechama Leibowitz Collection

In loving memory of Miriam Magda Reichner

We are honored to dedicate Sefaria’s collection of Nechama Leibowitz’s gilyonot in memory of Miriam Magda Reichner, beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother of the Rubinstein, Koschitzky and Pertman families of Toronto, Canada and Raanana, Israel.

Born in Beregszasz, Czechoslovakia in 1920, Mrs. Reichner was a proud graduate of the Bais Yaakov School in Bratislava. This trailblazing institution was led by Chava Landsberg, a key disciple of Sara Schenirer, the founder of the Bais Yaakov movement which revolutionized Torah study by making it accessible to women.

A survivor of Auschwitz, Mrs. Reichner immigrated to the United States with her husband Oscar after the war. They built a new life in New York, where they raised their daughters Chani and Renee. Yet Mrs. Reichner remained ever-devoted to the teachings, traditions and customs received from her beloved parents, Menachem Mendel and Chana Czuker, who perished in the Shoah.  At the same time, she was a worldly, enlightened and inquisitive individual. Magda Reichner always had the biggest personality, a dominant voice, and the sharpest wit.

She is sorely missed by all who knew and loved her.

In a small volume on the Book of Psalms (Tehilim), Nechama Leibowitz wrote:

“Generation after generation has read these psalms: during festivals and on days of mourning; in times of trouble as well as in times of joy; in secrecy and in public; in synagogues, in houses of study and, embattled, in bunkers. And in these recitations, the psalms poured forth from the lips of the reciters as though they themselves had created them, and as though they arose from the very core of their beings. Each generation brought to the words of the psalms its own experiences, its joys and tribulations, its problems and tensions, its faith and its trust, its hopes and its disappointments. And so when we read these words today, they are not merely the words of the poet who first spoke them 3000 or 2500 years ago - they have been saturated with the tears of all generations and they echo all their fears and hopes.”

(Nechama Leibowitz: Leader’s Guide to the Book of Psalms, 1971)

Nechama’s gilyonot, the ideas they raise, the challenges they present and the deep Torah insights they can unlock, have already inspired generations of students, and thanks to the support of the Rubinstein, Koschitzky and Pertman families, we hope these works will inspire generations to come.


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