"It's a criminal sin when suffering goes to waste," said Yoetzet Halacha Rachelli Sprecher Fraenkel, quoting Rabbi Joseph B. Soleveitchik. Perhaps the Jewish world's most recognized bereaved mother, and international symbol of Jewish Unity, Rachelli addressed 18 women from the Young Israel of Scarsdale at Nishmat yesterday on a chesed mission in memory of their dear friend and fellow congregant Dr. Robin Goldman, Raiza bat Tzvi Yaakov, Hy"d. The group, who came to help them heal from Robin's tragic death, listened as Rachelli assured them that grieving, is a very individual process that one most go through at their own pace and in a way that makes sense to them. Outsiders who come with "the answers", or the reasons why, even with the best intentions, are damaging to the bereaved and deprive them of the space to experience their own process. Rachelli read an excerpt from a piece written by an Israeli women who lost her seven year old daughter to cancer. "People always told me to accept suffering with love. I couldn't. It drove me mad and made me shut off until one day I realized, it meant to RESPOND to suffering with love. To heal by giving an outpouring of more and more love." Rachelli's class was a safe space for the mission participants who felt embraced and understood after a very difficult year.
In addition to participating in a very relevant, in-depth text study shiur with veteran Yoetzet Halacha Laurie Novick on the topic Chukot HaGoyim (the ways of gentiles), the group dedicated 26 gorgeous wedding gowns to Nishmat's Bridal Gemach. The participants are pictured above holding up certificates of appreciation that read With sincere thanks for your generous contribution to Nishmat's Bridal Gown Gemach. Helping kallahs in need marry with dignity in the most elegant of gowns.