Rebbetzin Miriam Devorah Shapiro, a”h, wife of, ybl”c, the Naroler Rebbe, shlita, was niftar Wednesday, 11 Elul, at 79 years of age. She was remembered for her staunch loyalty to her hallowed mesorah as well as for her acts of tzedakah and chessed.
The Rebbetzin was born in 1933 in New York. She spent her early years on Manhattan’s Lower East Side before moving to the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, where her father, Harav Moshe Rokeach, zt”l, the Kozlover Rebbe, established a beis medrash. The family are direct descendants of the Sar Shalom, founder of Belzer Chassidus. Her mother, Rebbetzin Shlomtze Rokeach, a”h, was a celebrated baalas chessed who maintained an open home that was a bastion of warmth and support to many. Years later, when the Kozlover Beis Medrash relocated to Boro Park, it was in their garage that the neighborhood’s Tomche Shabbos was first based.
The lessons of her parents’ unique chinuch were absorbed by Rebbetzin Shapiro, who would follow in their footsteps and turn her own home into a refuge for all who needed a meal, a bed, or a few kind words. Despite growing up on American shores, she held fast to the minhagim and traditions of her revered ancestors and worked to perpetuate them — hardly a popular path to take at the time.
In 1957, she married Harav Dov Berish Shapiro, the son of, lbcl”c, the previous Naroler Rebbe, Harav Chaim Meir Yechiel, zt”l, also descendants of the Sar Shalom. The couple settled first in Crown Heights before moving together with the Naroler Beis Medrash to Flatbush in 1979.
Rav Shapiro served as the founding Menahel of the Belzer Yeshivah of Boro Park, and the Rebbetzin went to untold efforts to support the fledgling mosad. With a lean budget, a leaner staff, and a kehillah that was far from the large and established one that exists today, she worked tirelessly to raise funds and manage the yeshivah’s physical and financial needs. The success that Belz in Boro Park enjoys today is in no small part due to her valiant endeavors.
As the much beloved Rebbetzin of the Naroler kehillah, she fit naturally into the role of surrogate grandmother to the beis medrash’s mispallelim, showing palpable joy and nachas at simchos and doting on its youngest members.
As a kavod acharon, the levayah started off at the Belzer Talmud Torah of Boro Park, a sign of appreciation for her dedication to the mosad, before proceeding to the Naroler Beis Medrash in Flatbush for hespedim. It then proceeded to Eretz Yisrael for additional hespedim at the Naroler Beis Medrash in Bnei Brak and kevurah on Har Hamenuchos.
The Rebbetzin is survived by her husband, the Naroler Rebbe; brothers, Harav Meir, the Kozlover Rebbe of Boro Park and Harav Aharon; sons, Harav Aharon, Harav Zalman, Harav Avraham and Harav Usher Yeshayah; daughters, Rebbetzin Sorah Rubin, Rebbetzin Chaya Brocha Ratza Ehrlich and Rebbetzin Tzina Mechelowitz, as well as by many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
The family will be sitting shiva through Tuesday morning at 1455 41st St. Brooklyn NY.
Yehi zichrah baruch.
Updated Thursday, September 15, 2016 at 3:52 pm shiva info