National Religious Pioneer Rabbanit Rachel Neriya Passes Away
Rabbanit (Rebbetzin in Yiddish) Rachel Neriya z"tl, the widow of Rabbi Moshe Tzvi Neriya z”tl, passed away Thursday. She was 91, and passed away on 21 Kislev, almost 17 years to the day of the passing of Rabbi Neriya. Together with her husband, Rabbanit Neriya was one of the most influential figures in the Mizrachi movement and the national religious community.
Rabbanit Neriya was born in 1921 in Lithuania, to Rabbi Meir and Devora Gittelson. She arrived in the Land of Israel in 1935, and studied at Hebrew University. Shortly afterwards she married Rabbi Moshe Zvi Mencken, who later took the surname Neriya, and who, together with Rabbi Avraham Zuckerman, established the Bnei Akiva yeshiva high school movement.
Rabbanit Neriya was a full partner with her husband in the educational revolution wrought by the Bnei Akiva yeshiva high school network. She established a school for at-risk youth, located in Kfar Haro'eh, near one of the original Bnei Akiva high schools, and voluntarily directed it over a decade.
Among the areas where she was most active was in teaching the laws of family purity, which she taught and spoke about for many years as a sought after speaker, making the ancient laws relevant for a new generation. She wrote several books on the subject which are still popular. She also spoke on matters of family purity to students in high schools, both in Bnei Akiva schools and other institutions.
A diminutive woman in size, with a gentle and gracious manner, she was a vertiable tower of strength when it came to standing up for the defense of Torah values and the behavioral standards in which she believed.
She also helped Rabbi Neriya with his writing, acting as editor and proofreader for several of his works. Since his death 17 years ago in 1995 (on 19 Kislev) she has dedicated much time to arranging and editing his writings, and has been responsible for preparing a number of volumes of Rabbi Neriya's writings for publication.
Rabbanit Neria volunteered and served in a number of organizations, most notably Emunah, the National Religious Women's Organization, where she was a member of the board of directors and a major force in the organization's direction. She was a recipient of Emunah's Woman of the Year award in recognition of her accomplishments as well as the President's Award for Voluntarism in 1996.
Rabbi and Rebbetzin Neriya had eight children. In 1985 they suffered a terrible personal loss when their son Rabbi Avraham Neriya z”tl passed away after suffering from cancer.
Rebbetzin Neriya's funeral will take place at 10:00 AM Friday, leaving from her home in Kfar Haroe'eh, near Hadera..