Petirah of Rebbetzin Rochel Gettinger A”H

We regret to inform you of the petirah of Rebbetzin Rochel Gettinger, the wife of Rav Menachem Gettinger z”l, the longtime Rav of Young Israel of the West Side, and president of renowned Chesed organization, Ezras Torah.

Rebbetzin Rochel was born in 1927 and grew up in Camden, New Jersey, the only child of the beloved Rav of the city, Rav Naftali Riff, and his wife, Basya. Rav Naftali had come to America from Volozhin, where he had lived in the home of his grandfather, the Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Rephael Shapiro. He carried the Mesorah of his Elter Zaida Rav Chaim Volozhiner with him, and his daughter grew up to absorb this chinuch in all its entirety. Throughout her life, Rochel remained guided by the influence and upbringing she received from her revered parents. Her chashivus for her father and his Torah far outweighed the temptations of the time, and carried her on a mission to build a home of Torah and Yiras Shomayim of her own.

In 1948, she married one of the outstanding Talmidim of Rav Hutner, R’ Menachem (Mendel) Gettinger. Together they influenced countless people to come close to Torah and Yiddishkeit, from New Haven, Conneticut, to the Upper West Side of Manhattan, where Rabbi Gettinger was a Rav for over fifty years.

Rebbetzin Rochel’s love for Torah and Mitzvos were legendary. She was a melumedes in her own right, citing countless mekoros and meforshim when divrei Torah were spoken. She encouraged her sons and grandsons to increase their Hasmada, and encouraged her husband to put his own kesavim into print. Her dikduk b’mitzvos were legendary, and she davened three times a day, often with a minyan, even in her later years. Hundreds of people have benefited from her hospitality and Chesed, and she connected to so many people with her wisdom and humor.

In her later years, following the illness of her husband, Rebbetzin Rochel moved into the home of her daughter and son-in-law in Chicago. She remained the matriarch of a large family of Bnei Torah, and was zoche to beautiful Arichas Yamim. She leaves behind her sons, R’ Yisrael (Rav of Indianapolis) and R’ Rephael Moshe (Rosh Yeshivah in Yeshivas Medrash Chaim, Lakewood) and her daughter, Mrs. Sarah Ungar, of Chicago, as well as many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

There will be a Levaya at the entrance of Har Hamenuchos, this Friday around 11:30.

The aveilim will be sitting Shivah in Eretz Yisrael Motzaei Shabbos and Sunday until around 6:00 pm at the Weinberger home, 33 Sorotzkin Knisa Aleph, 2 flights down. The aveilim will then be in Chicago at the Ungar home, 3100 North Shore Ave. Rav Rephael Moshe will be sitting shiva in Lakewood on Wednesday, at the Gettinger home, 53 Freedom Drive. The aveilim will be getting up Thursday morning.

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  1. Legend has it that she was a lamdan in learning to the level of a good yungerman. Her father, while living in Camden, had noone to learn with so he took her as a chavrusa and taught her how to learn. She would ask into bar mitzva pshetls from over mechitza and call her sons mesivta rebbe if she felt he said wrong pshat in rashba.
    May she rest in peace and be a beter for her beautiful family.

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