BDE: Rebbetzin Rivka Kaluszyner, a”h
We are saddened to inform you of the passing of Rebbetzin Kaluszyner, a”h, a bridge to an extinct world of chassidus and mesirus nefesh in Russia of yore. She was 97 years of age, and resided in Lakewood in recent years.
She was born in the year 1920, into the home of Reb Moshe and Sarah Ehrlich, in the quaint Russian town of David-Horodok, near Stolin, which was a stronghold of Stoliner chassidim. The Ehrlich home, which included her legendary brother, Reb Yom Tov Ehrlich, was permeated with the spirit and the fire of stolin—a fire that would never cease burning within her until her last days of her century of life.
When the Nazis arrived in David-Horodok in the year 1941, the family escaped eastward, to Samarkand (those familiar with the music of her brother would recall the evocative and nostalgic nigunim that he composed recalling the memories of both Samarkand, as well as their hometown).
While her father was niftar of Typhus in Samarkand, the family was fortunate to survive the war. She married Rav Shmuel Kaluszyner, a talmid of Baranovich and Novaradok, and they began married life in France.
Arriving in America, Rav Shmuel joined the transplanted Novaradoker Yeshiva in Boro Park as a Marbitz Torah for many years.
His entire life was Torah, and he was a masmid atzum, utilizing every moment for learning—with the undying support of his Rebbetzin.
For her part, in addition to raising her family, she was an address for countless people who came to her door for her endless flow of chizuk and cheerfulness. Despite everything she had gone through, her ironclad emunah with which she was raised from the earliest age, inspired and strengthened Everyone who was fortunate to meet her.
She penned a memoir of her wartime experiences, a harrowing tale of faith and survival, called “the Not Faraway Past.”
Her constant smile and wise words were a balm to many broken souls… and so many friends and descendants.
With the passing of her husband 20 years ago, she moved to Lakewood to be near her children. She was sharp and erudite until her last days and leaves behind and incredible legacy of descendants who are a credit to her family.
Yehi Zichra Baruch