A large crowed accompanied Rebbetzin Ita Sima Miriam Goldman of Zhvill, a”h, the widow of Harav Avraham of Zhvill, the Ohr Avraham, zy”a, on her final journey last night. She passed away in Yerushalayim at the age of 79.
The Rebbetzin was born in Kiev, Ukraine, which then belonged to Communist Russia, on 27 Iyar 5695/1935 to her father, Harav Mordechai Sternberg, who was a descendent of the Maggid of Zlotchov and the tzaddikim of Mezeritch, Chernobyl, Zhitomir and the Kedushas Levi.
At the time, Communist rule eradicated all vestiges of Yiddishkeit in Russia. Her father was moser nefesh to observe Torah and mitzvos. As a girl, she had to learn in a Russian school, but since she didn’t want to write on Shabbos, she cut her finger. In Russia, the family lived in poverty, occasionally having only orange peels to eat.
During the war, her father’s family was exiled to Bukhara; there, too, they went to great lengths to observe mitzvos.
After the war, her family came to Eretz Yisrael. She began to study in Bais Yaakov, under Harav Wolf, and he appointed her as a madrichah in the Batya (Shabbos group) organization.
In 5714/1954, she married her husband, who, aside from being descended from the holy tzaddikim of Zhvill, was also known for his Torah, yiras Shamayim and sterling middos. She was a most supportive helpmate, at first when he sat and learned, and later, when he became Rebbe. Together, they raised a family of children who are following in the path of their eminent forbears.
After the passing of her father-in-law, Harav Mordechai of Zhvill, zt”l, on 28 Shevat 5739/1979, her husband, Harav Avraham, became the Rebbe, and led the community until his passing on 12 Teves 5770/2009.
Their home was open to all day and night. The Rebbetzin was always there, doing whatever her husband needed. She was a mother figure to the Chassidim, rejoicing with their simchos and grieving with their troubles. She would bentsch people warmly and wholeheartedly. Often, when she would convey the names of the sick and those who needed yeshuos to her husband, she would then take a Tehillim and tearfully daven for their refuos and yeshuos.
She managed an open home, where there was always plenty to eat and drink. She was extremely modest and humble, and did not view herself as a Rebbetzin. She made do with very little, not understanding why one would need new things.
In recent years, she was unwell and suffered a lot, but she was always in a happy frame of mind. Despite her pain, she accepted everything with love and never complained.
After the passing of her husband, her son, the Zhviller Rebbe, shlita, received the public in her home every day.
She passed away suddenly last night at home. The levayah departed from the Zhviller beis medrash in the Bais Yisrael neighborhood to Har Hazeisim, where she was buried in the Zhviller section.
The Rebbetzin leaves children, grandchildren and great- grandchildren, all continuing in the ways of their eminent ancestors.