Mrs. Rochel Yehudis Charytan, an emissary of the Rebbe to Winnipeg, Canada for over forty years, passed away on the first day of Pesach after a lengthy illness. She was 65.

She was born in Montreal, Canada, in 1954, and named for her two grandmothers who were martyred in Auschwitz.  Her parents, Shraga and Sarah Gottlieb, Holocaust survivors from Hungary and Czechoslovakia, instilled within their three children a strong sense of Judaism, setting living examples of how to live with true faith and love of Hashem. 

Her father was an accomplished Torah scholar who would use his every spare moment for learning Torah and encouraged many people to make Torah learning a priority.  Her mother worked full time to help support the family, yet would take her children to visit the elderly and sick, bringing them her legendary food and encouragement.  

Her parents spared no expense to ensure that their children received a proper Jewish education.  She studied at the Beis Yaakov of Montreal where she became close with several Lubavitcher teachers and classmates, eventually becoming fully devoted to the Rebbe and his teachings.  She would constantly refer her children to the Rebbe’s love for every Jew, as a guidepost for how they should think about and interact with their fellow Jews.

In 1975, she and her husband, Rabbi Yitzchok Charytan, moved as Chabad emissaries to Winnipeg joining the team of Rabbi Avrohom & Bracha Altein, where she raised her family far from the comforts of her childhood.  In their meeting with the Rebbe before moving, the Rebbe handed her three dollars and told her she should be involved in the three mitzvos of Jewish women (Kosher, Mikvah, Shabbat & Holiday candles). She was very active in the building and managing of a proper Mikvah in Winnipeg. She reached out to countless women with her non-judgmental, accepting attitude, guiding many in their times of pain and doubt, with a listening ear and kind encouragement.

After her oldest son was diagnosed with severe autism, she decided with her husband that they would do whatever it takes to raise him within a Jewish environment. This involved keeping him in their care at home while simultaneously managing her other duties with an upbeat, composed demeanor. 

One of the camp Gan Israel staff who came for two summers in the late 70’s related that Mrs. Charytan gave her marriage advice to “always greet your husband with a smile, no matter what type of day you had.” While it seems simple, it was so meaningful, given the difficulties she observed in having to manage an autistic toddler. 

She opened her home every Shabbos for many years to host a minyan and kiddush.  She kept in touch with many community members via weekly emails, reminding them about Shabbos candle lighting and other pertinent information. She baked countless challahs, honey cakes and other delicacies for community members to help them celebrate Shabbos and Yom Tov. 

In recent years she suffered from illness, yet she never complained and continued to be there for others to the extent; that many in her community were unaware of her situation.  Her refrain while going through treatments was “Baruch Hashem all is well, Hoidu L’Hashem Ki Toiv Ki L’Oilom Chasdoi. (Give thanks to G‑d for His kindness is everlasting).” Even when she was very ill, she continued arranging the Mikvah schedule.  She held herself strong throughout and encouraged everyone with her positive attitude. 

She is survived by her husband Rabbi Yitzchok Yaacov Charytan – Winnipeg and her children Mendy Charytan – Winnipeg; Yossi Charytan – Montreal; Zalman Charytan – Kennesaw, Georgia; Naftoli Charytan – Crown Heights; Sholom Ber Charytan – Los Angeles, CA; Leah Blecher – The Woodlands, Texas; Chaya Mushka Cunin – Pomona, NY; Sossia Kramer – Crown Heights and Mattis Charytan – Crown Heights and many grandchildren.

She is also survived by her siblings Yitzchok Dov Gottlieb – Jerusalem and Chana Blima Friedman – Toronto.

Shiva will take place after Passover. The family requests to strengthen the observance of, or to influence others in the observance of; Kosher, Mikvah, Shabbat & Holiday candles, in memory of Rochel Yehudis bas Shraga Feivel, AH.

Condolences and stories can be sent to [email protected]. Mitzvah Pledges in her memory, will be especially comforting to the family. Please pledge HERE.