Author of ‘All For The Boss’
Rebbetzin Ruchoma (nee Herman) Shain, whose book All For The Boss about her father Harav Yaakov Yosef Herman, zt”l, remains a classic in Jewish homes since it appeared 30 years ago, was niftar this past Shabbos in Lakewood. She was 98.
Rebbetzin Shain was born on New York‘s Lower East Side, to Reb Yaakov Yosef and Aidel (nee Andron) Herman, whom she immortalized in her classic book, All for The Boss (Feldheim 1984). The youngest of her parents’ five children, born during World War I, she was named Ruchoma as an expression of bakashah that Hashem shower his suffering world with mercy.
The Herman home, led by its singular patriarch, was a model of loyalty to Torah, strict adherence to mitzvos, and bountiful hachnasas orchim. Guests who regularly enjoyed the generosity of the Hermans included immigrant refugees, people seeking the warmth of their special Shabbos table, and Gedolei Hador, who trusted Reb Yaakov Yosef’s kashrus in an America where standards were woefully lacking.
Ruchoma and her siblings, Esther (Stern), Frieda (Kaufman), Nochum Dovid, and Basha (Scheinberg), soaked up the atmosphere of this blessed home, absorbing its values and maintaining them throughout their lives. Once, when Harav Baruch Ber Lebowitz, zt”l, the illustrious Rosh Yeshivah of Kamenitz, stayed with the Hermans for an extended period, Ruchoma found an object the Rosh Yeshivah had misplaced. Appreciatively, the Gadol gave her a brachah that she find her true zivug. In All for the Boss, Rebbetzin Shain stated that this blessing bore wonderful fruit.
Reb Shimon Shain, a shochet, and his wife, Geneshe, raised an exemplary family who wore their Yiddishkeit proudly, while others strove to assimilate into American society. Their oldest son, Moshe, became engaged to Ruchoma Herman.
Shortly after their wedding, the couple, at the behest of Reb Yaakov Yosef, embarked on a sea voyage that would lead them to a place small in size but immense in its impact on the Torah world. The couple spent nearly six years in Mir, Poland, where Reb Moshe learned in a rarefied atmosphere, headed by such luminaries as Harav Eliezer Yehuda Finkel, Harav Yeruchom Levovitz, and Harav Chatzkel Levenstein, zt”l.
As the winds of war gathered over Europe, Reb Yaakov Yosef instructed his children to come home. Rebbetzin Shain’s brother and sister and their spouses had also been in Mir and had already left.
Returning to the East Side, Reb Moshe and Ruchoma were reunited with their families. Not long afterward, however, the senior Hermans announced their decision to move to Eretz Yisrael. Ruchoma traveled to Yerushalayim to visit her father several times after her mother’s petirah. Eventually, when their children were grown, the Shains moved to Yerushalayim, purchasing an apartment in the new development of Kiryat Mattersdorf.
Rebbetzin Shain was an individual of unusual wisdom and kindness. Her second book, Reaching the Stars (Feldheim 1990), chronicles her experiences as an outstanding teacher who greatly influenced the lives of her students. In the States, she taught several grades; in Yerushalayim, she was a tremendously popular lecturer.
Rebbetzin Shain continued writing during her years in Mattersdorf. She hosted countless visitors seeking her counsel regarding shidduchim, marriage, parenting, and other topics, or who just wanted to meet this unique woman whose words had touched them deeply.
About 10 years ago, she returned to the States to be near her children in Adelphia, where she continued to welcome visitors and spread her special brand of sunlight, guiding and uplifting countless individuals.
She is survived by her children, Harav Yisrael Meir, Rosh Mesivta in Mirrer Yeshiva, and his wife, Chaya; Mashi, married to Harav Elimelech Wilner, a longtime Rosh Mesivta at Mesivta of Long Beach; and Harav Refoel Yitzchak, Rosh Mesivta in Adelphia Yeshiva, and his wife, Yehudis.
To people the world over, Rebbetzin Shain represented a watershed era in history in which she and her family played a formative role. Her gifts of deep sensitivity, clear memory, dynamic warmth and eloquent expression enabled her to share that world with generations.
Yehei zichrah baruch.
A more extensive tribute will iy”H appear in the Hamodia weekly.