Our family suffered a terrible loss this week. The passing of Rebbetzin Denah Weinberg, zt’l is the end of an era for Aish. She was not just the wife of our founder Rabbi Noach Weinberg, zt’l. Rebbetzin Weinberg was a power to be reckoned with in women’s education. In many ways she was ahead of her time. She started a cutting edge women’s program called EYAHT where women of limited background could study Judaism and fulfill their spiritual potential.
The educational philosophy of EYAHT was that Jewish wisdom did not need any garnish. The Rebbetzin believed that complicated and deep Torah could be learned by any Jewish woman and didn’t need any window dressing to make it palatable. Indeed many of the classes that were taught were straight, complex Jewish law classes without the philosophical accoutrements. It worked mightily as so many women were elevated as a result.
Rebbetzin Weinberg also had an eye for talent. She was the one who spotted a young up-and-coming Rabbi (and future AISH Rosh Yeshiva) named Yitzchak Berkovits and hired him to teach the young women of EYAHT. Her teachers were among the most talented educators of Jerusalem. She spared no expense to bring the best and brightest to EYAHT. Nothing was too good for her students.
What was amazing was that with such an emphasis on intellectualism, she still had a warm and open home. To spend Shabbos at the Weinberg home was to enter a palace. Rebbetzin Weinberg raised twelve beautiful children while still making time for any Jew who needed her guidance. Often Rav Noach would be away for long periods of time building Aish. She never complained and was a true partner to him.
In many ways this year has been a passing of the baton. Aish now has more women students than ever in our history. Shiviti, AISH Gesher for Women and AISH Aspire are all filled to capacity. This is a credit to Rebbetzin Weinberg who emphasized the importance of educating young women. May we continue to follow in her path and bring many more women closer to the Almighty.