This edition of Kol Mevaseret is dedicated to the memory and ilyui neshama of Ezra Schwartz H'YD.
Rabbanit Esther Rivka Wagner with her daughter Malky,
and her grandchildren,
Rabbi Shalom Weisberg (current MMY faculty), and Michal
On the 17th of Iyar, May 25th, 2016, I paid a visit to Mrs. Malky Weisberg, who graciously invited me to her office on the Yad Vashem campus. Little did I know the significance of that date.
Rabbanit Esther Rivka Wagner (nee Willig) A”H, Malky’s mother, had passed away just two months prior at the age of 92. Rabbanit Wagner, a holocaust survivor and an impressive woman of her own right, had been a long-time MMY witness on our annual Heritage trip to Poland. Her passing was a tremendous loss for all of us too. Just two weeks after her passing, MMY 5776 embarked on yet another voyage, attempting a glimpse at a horror that was. With all this happening in succession, one after the other, I reached out to her daughter to try and connect with the history and memories that much of the MMY family feel so intimately a part of. I sat with Malky, and asked her to give me a taste of the inspiring life of her mother, and the legacy that she left behind.
When Malky spoke, there was no pomp or ceremony. She spoke simply, yet poignantly, and I began to get an idea about the woman who raised her. She started at the very beginning of Rabbanit Wagner’s story, providing me with background and painting a picture of the piety of her mother’s origins. Forty-five minutes later, we were both crying.