Miss Ayala Shulman, a”h

On Erev Shabbos Kodesh, 28 Tammuz, shock and profound grief spread throughout the Jewish world as the news became known of the passing of Miss Ayala Shulman, a”h. She was a  sparkling gem who brought happiness to countless others and made the world a more beautiful place.

Ayala was born 18 years and 45 days ago to Mr. Ari and Mrs. Reva (Gittelman) Shulman, devoted askanim and beloved members of the Chicago Jewish community. She radiated joie de vivre, loved people, and had many friends. She had an easygoing nature, and wherever she was, others gravitated to her. When she headed a Shabbaton at Bais Yaakov of Chicago, her schoolmates happily volunteered for jobs that might have otherwise been considered tedious; Ayala  knew how to make them fun.

Ayala was a selfless person; giving was her essence and her joy. When she saw a need, she was the first to run and help.

She loved caring for her nieces and nephews, and her younger brothers and sisters. A sister-in-law once asked whether she would be available on a certain day to accompany her to the pediatrician’s office. Ayala gladly agreed. A few days later, she was invited to her married sister’s home in Cleveland. The time of her scheduled flight coincided with the time she had agreed to help her sister-in-law. The latter said, “Don’t worry, it’s no problem; you haven’t been to Cleveland for so long. Just go ahead; I’ll manage.”

But Ayala refused. She changed her ticket so she could accommodate her sister-in-law. That was classic Ayala.

Ayala’s father was a founder of Camp Agudah Midwest, in South Haven. The family, for many years, has spent summers in a  bungalow colony adjoining the camp. The highlight of Ayala’s year was the summer, when she enjoyed the camp experience and simultaneously spent memorable vacation time with her family.

Later on, Ayala ran a day camp in the colony. One family had a child whose special needs presented particular challenges. It had always been hard to find a summer venue for this child. The parents, at the beginning of this summer, explained his situation at length to Ayala, and asked whether she would consider admitting him to her camp. She said, unhesitatingly, “No problem. He’s welcome to come.”

The first day of camp was Wednesday, 26 Tammuz, July 3; Ayala was hit by a car that evening. Hashem brought her pure neshamah to Shamayim two days later, a magnificent blossom plucked from this world and transplanted to Gan Eden.

Before the hespedim that were held in Camp Agudah Midwest, the father of that special-needs child told the family, “My wife told me that since our son was born, she never felt such menuchas hanefesh as she did  during those three hours that he spent in Ayala’s day camp.”

Asked to name some middos tovos in which Ayala excelled, family members praised her tznius, her shemiras halashon, her bountiful chessed and her contagious simchas hachaim.

May Hakadosh Baruch Hu comfort Ayala’s wonderful family, and the countless people who loved and admired her. May He bring solace to Klal Yisrael, and may Ayala be a melitzas yosher for us all. Her abundant zechuyos will surely draw the Geulah sheleimah closer.

Tehi zichrah baruch.