It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Rebbetzin Malka Shurin a”h, wife of Rav Yisroel Shurin zt”l and daughter of Rav Yaakov Kamenetzky zt”l.
Rav Shurin, who passed away at age 89 six years ago, was a scion of Lithuanian gedolim and served as the rov of the Magen Avraham Shul in Efrat.
Rav Yisroel was born in Ritova, Lithuania, the third of seven children. His father, Rav Moshe, founded a yeshiva there and headed it for twelve years. Rav Yisroel started out in cheder in Ritova, and then left to learn at Beis Rubenstein, the yeshiva katanah of Ponevezh Yeshiva. Soon after, he continued at Telz Yeshiva and learned there until he and his family moved to Eretz Yisroel in 1935. From the age of eight until the age of seventeen, Rav Yisroel didn’t see his father, who was serving as a rov in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Rav Yisroel began learning at the Chevron Yeshiva in Yerushalayim, but switched soon after to Yeshivas Lomzeh in Petach Tikvah when the family relocated there. Ultimately he returned to the Chevron Yeshiva and developed a very close relationship with the rosh yeshiva, Rav Yecheskel Sarna. He received semicha from Rav Sarna, Rav Isser Zalman Melzer, Rav Reuven Katz, Rav Meir Stolewitz, Rav Yechiel Michel Zev Hurwitz, and Rav Yitzchak Halevi Herzog Rav Shurin became extremely close with Rav Isser Zalman, and was a ben bayis in his home.
Rav Yisroel arrived in New York in 1940 and learned under Rav Moshe Soloveichik – the eldest son of Rav Chaim Brisker – who recognized Rav Yisroel to be a talmid chacham. Subsequently, he sent him shortly thereafter to his son, Rav Yosef Dov, in Boston along with four other European talmidim. These were the five original talmidim of Rav Yosef Dov. When Rav Yosef Dov moved to New York, he brought Rav Yisroel and his fellow talmidim with him.
After a brief stint as a rov in Portland, Maine in 5705/1945, Rav Yisroel returned to New York where he married his wife, Rebbetzin Malka Kamenetzky, daughter of Rav Yaakov Kamenetzky, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Torah Vodaas.
Rav Yisroel served as the rov of Magen Avraham kehillah in the East New York section of Brooklyn. While in Brooklyn, Rav Yisroel taught at the Beis Yaakov Seminary in Williamsburg, which was the first Bais Yaakov School in America. He also taught at Mesivta Chaim Berlin in Brownsville, Brooklyn and lectured in many Torah Umesorah teacher-training programs. In 1954 Rav Reuven Grozovsky asked him to become the Hebrew editor of Torah Umesorah’s day-school monthly journal for children about the gedolei Yisroel called Olomeinu. These articles were later compiled into a six-volume set of books called Morei Ha’umah. Rav Yisroel wrote articles in many Torah publications during this period and was a member of Agudas Harabonim in America.
In 1983, the Rebbetzin and Rav Yisroel moved to Efrat and founded Magen Avraham, as a bais medrash and community kollel for the residents of Efrat, a name they brought with them from their former kehillah in Brooklyn. He and the Rebbetzin also started a gemach in Efrat for its residents and the surrounding areas.
The Rebbetzin personified the regal and refined nature of an aim b’Yisroel, always carrying herself with great dignity and modesty, and serving as the consummate eizer kenegdo to her illustrious husband. Her mesirus nefesh for harbotzas haTorah and her husband’s kehillos served as a source of inspiration to so many people.
Together with Rav Yisroel, the Rebbetzin raised a beautiful mishpacha of bnei and bnos Torah, who continue to follow in the path of their parents.
The Rebbetzin’s petirah is a tremendous blow to her many friends and admirers, to Rav Yisroel’s followers, and to the greater community.
The Rebbetzin is survived by her brothers, Rav Binyomin Kamenetzky, founding rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva of South Shore; Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva of Philadelphia; Rav Nosson Kamenetzky of Yerushalayim; and Rav Avrohom Kamenetsky of Brooklyn; her older sister, Mrs. Rivka Diskind, wife of Rav Hirsch Diskind, dean emeritus of Bais Yaakov of Baltimore; her three sons – Moshe, Dov, and Yitzchak – as well as many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The Rebbetzin’s three sons all reside in Eretz Yisroel. R’ Moshe is a retired business executive; R’ Dov is a famous activist, radio commentator and musician, and R’ Yitzchak is the rosh midrasha of Midreshet Rachel v’Chaya of Darchei Noam institutions.
Yehi zichrah boruch.