Rebbetzin Charlotte Winchester a”h


candle-small3It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Rebbetzin Shaindel (Charlotte) Winchester a”h, wife of Reb Dovid Winchester zt”l, one of the survivors of the 1929 Chevron massacre and a tremendous baal chessed.

Reb Dovid Winchester was the rov of Congregation Nusach Ari in Chicago. He was a remarkable man who was a legend in the minds and hearts of many in Chicago’s Jewish community. Reb Dovid learned and got semicha in HTC, but refused to use the title “rabbi” out of his immense humility. He was born in Poland around 1903 and came to the United States as a young child. Hanoch Teller has a chapter on Reb Dovid in his book, “Hey, Taxi!”

In the late 1920s, he left Chicago and travelled to learn in the Chevron Yeshiva. In 1929, the Chevron Massacre took place, and while Arabs rioted, destroyed the yeshiva and other Jewish institutions and killed a total of 67 Jews, Reb Dovid miraculously survived. He was stabbed 13 times and left for dead, lying in the street. It was only the next day, when members of the chevrah kadisha came to collect the bodies, that a doctor noticed a faint spark of life left in him. He was revived, then returned to Chicago and spent 18 months in the hospital recovering.

When he recovered from his wounds, Reb Dovid settled in Albany Park, Chicago’s poorest Jewish community, and founded Nusach Ari, a small shul, and taught at his alma mater, the Hebrew Theological College, for most of his life.

Many of Reb Dovid’s accomplishments and great acts of chessed were performed together or with the support of his dedicated wife. Their son related some years ago that the door to the Winchesters’ small Albany Park apartment was never locked, so anyone who needed a place to sleep could find one there.

Reb Dovid often found homeless people on the streets and brought them to the apartment for the night. Whether they were Jews or non-Jews didn’t matter. What did was that they needed a warm place to sleep and Rebbetzin Winchester was there to provide warm food and make the people comfortable.

For most of his life, the shul sent Reb Dovid’s paycheck directly to the Rebbetzin. It was the only way to keep the family from being as destitute as the people Reb Dovid and his Rebbetzin helped. If they gave the paycheck to Reb Dovid, he would immediately give it all away to the poor.

The passing of Rebbetzin Winchester brings to a close an era of remarkable chessed and warmth of the Winchesters, special people the likes of whom are hard to find. The Rebbetzin will be sorely missed. She is survived by her children, Avi and Rosalyn.

The levaya will take place this morning, at 9:30, at Cong. Shearis Yisroel, located at 2938 W. Arthur in Chicago.

May the Rebbetzin’s family have a nechama.

Yehi zichrah boruch.

{Dovid Newscenter} 


  1. In fact, Uncle Winchester, as he was referred to by his family, took over the Nusach Ari shul in Albany Park from his Shvere, My great-zeidy, Rav Mordechai Weiss, ZTK”L. Zeidy also built the first north side mikva in the shul. Aunt Charlotte, Z”L was the mikva lady in the shul for 2 generations and then continued her job on the Touhy Ave Mikva when the community was centered there.
    We loved Aunt Charlotte, Z”L and pray she should be a mailitz yosher for her entire mishpocha.

  2. May I extend my deepest condolences to Rosalyn and Avraham on the loss of their mother. Their parents exemplified the highest standards of Torah, Avodah, and Gemilas Chasodim, not just in their words, but in their actions. May their memory be an inspiration to us all on how to live. It was my honor to have known the family during the late 50’s and early 60’s in chicago. Sincerely, Howard Miller, San Juan, PR,