A Class Of Their Own:
A Class Of Chaya Mushkas
the Chaf-Tes Shvat sicha of 5748, after the end of Shiva for the
Rebbetzin, the Rebbe thanked those who had founded new mosdos in
the Rebbetzin’s name, and spoke about the nachas ruach this gave
it wasn’t only mosdos that were named after the Rebbetzin;
thousands of girls around the world proudly bear the Rebbetzin’s
name, Chaya Mushka. The girls born around the time of her passing
are now reaching the age of bas mitzva. In honor of Chaf-Beis
Shvat, we interviewed girls of this age and asked them to describe
their feelings about the Rebbetzin, and how they feel about being
in a class full of Chaya Mushkas.
do you know about Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka?
She was a Chassidiste and a bas melech.
Mushka Burstein: The Rebbetzin did many acts of chesed without
people knowing about it.
Mushka Garelik: She was extremely humble.
Mushka Wilhelm: And modest, too.
Mushka Amitai: We have heard that she ran away from the public
do you feel about your name?
I am very proud of my name.
Mushka Gopin: I feel it is a z’chus (privilege) to be
named after her.
Mushka P.: The name obligates me to follow in the ways of the
Mushka Gelbstein: I feel close to her because I have her name.
Segal: My parents visited the Rebbetzin, and my family on my
mother’s side, the Butman family, visited the Rebbetzin. I feel
a strong connection to her.
Mushka Dashi: When I was born, my father wanted to give me the
name Nechama Dina and my mother wanted to name me Chaya Mushka.
They couldn’t decide what to do. That night, my father dreamed
that he was standing on the bima in shul, about to
give me the name Nechama Dina, but instead he blurted out the name
what ways do you try to emulate the Rebbetzin?
I try to behave like her, to do many good deeds, like she did.
Mushka Fried: They say I greatly resemble her. I am also quiet
Mushka Tzipori: I try to be a model of Chassidishkeit when I
go out on mivtzaim.
Mushka Gopin: In many ways I try to be like her, such as
trying to influence my surroundings. However, I heard she didn’t
like to be photographed, and there are very few known pictures of
her — but I like to be photographed.
Mushka Amitai: My teacher at school gave us a homework
assignment to write about someone we admired. I chose the
Rebbetzin, because I really want to learn from her.
Mushka Wilhelm: When I think about the Rebbetzin, it
influences me to daven better and to get along with my
the name sound strange to non-Lubavitchers?
I had a friend who said that if people would call her by that
name, she would try to hide it. I told her that I especially liked
my name and am very proud of it.
Mushka Aharon: When I say that my name is Chaya Mushka, people
immediately say, “Aha, you’re probably a Lubavitcher.”
Mushka Burstein: Sometimes people ask me what my name means,
so I explain that Chaya come from “chayus,” life and
energy, and Mushka means the sweet fragrance of spices.
Mushka Cohen: My father is a shaliach in Avivim, and
sometimes when I go on mivtzaim with him, children are
surprised by my name and even laugh. When I tell them, “You are
not laughing at me; you are laughing at the holy name of the
righteous Rebbetzin,” they stop and apologize.
Mushka Weisman: At first, my family on my father’s side was
not accustomed to this name. But eventually they got used to it.
Mushka Kastiel: My class corresponds with girls in another
city. In my first letter, I explained the meaning of my name.
Mushka Amitai: Once a doctor asked me in surprise about my
name, “What kind of name is that?” I calmly answered him, “I
am named after the Rebbetzin of Chabad!”
there a story about the Rebbetzin that you especially identify
Mushka Wilschansky: Once, the Rebbetzin saw a family crying
because they didn’t have money to pay the rent, and the police
had thrown all their belongings out on the street. The Rebbetzin
was passing by in a car, and she immediately stopped and gave them
the money to pay what they owed.
Mushka Abutbol: I love the story about the court case, when
the Rebbetzin said that her father and the sfarim belong to
Mushka Fried: The Bais Rivka girls composed a song about the
Rebbetzin. It speaks about the Rebbetzin’s shunning the public
eye, and her desire that we be mekushar to the Rebbe, and
it speaks about her life and her midos. I really love
Mushka Weisman: I love the story about when the Rebbetzin
received a bouquet of flowers for her birthday, and inside there
was an envelope with names of those who needed brachos from
the Rebbe. The Rebbe said that also the Rebbetzin could bless
Mushka Aharon: I love the story that every time the Rebbe
returned from farbrengens, even if it was late at night,
the Rebbetzin was always waiting up for him.
Segal: I like to hear the stories about her tzniyus and
humility, how she always took different routes and went to distant
shops so that she wouldn’t be identified.
Mushka Tzipori: The story that made an impression on me is the
one about the girl in a dormitory in New York who met the
Rebbetzin in a stationery store without realizing it was the
Rebbetzin. The next day, the Rebbetzin called the dormitory to see
how the girl was doing.
you get special attention at gatherings in memory of the Rebbetzin?
Mushka Akselrod: Yes. At the Bas Melech gathering on
Chaf-Beis Shvat, the emcee calls upon all the girls who are named
after the Rebbetzin to go up to the stage.
Mushka Stambler: I am the oldest Chaya Mushka (in Kfar
Chabad), and the principal always calls on me to read a pasuk
in memory of the Rebbetzin.
Mushka Wilschansky: I am the oldest Chaya Mushka of the girls
in Kiryat Chabad in Tzfat, because I was born a month and a half
after the Rebbetzin passed away.
Mushka Peretz: I always enjoy the Chaf-Beis Shvat assemblies,
because when they ask who is named after the Rebbetzin, I feel
will be bas mitzva this year. What good hachlata (resolution)
will you make? Will it have any connection to the Rebbetzin?
Mushka Cohen: Yes. I think I will resolve to be mehader in
tzniyus like the Rebbetzin.
Mushka Dashi: In honor of our bas mitzva, the principal
of our school, Ateres Chaya, in Bnei Brak, is organizing a trip to
770 for the 6th grade. We received a bracha from the Rebbe
for the trip, and, G-d willing, I plan to go.
Mushka Kastiel: My hachlata is to be careful about
saying Chitas, and to try to emulate the Rebbetzin.
Mushka Amitai: I decided to daven with extra sincerity.
Mushka P.: I will be careful when it comes to ahavas
Mushka Garelik: G-d willing, I will be particular about being
refined and humble, two of the Rebbetzin’s characteristics.
Mushka Axelrod: I will choose something connected to the
Rebbetzin’s midos, I haven’t decided what it will be
do the teachers differentiate between all the Chaya Mushkas in the
turns out that the teachers choose one of two options. They might
use the child’s surname in addition to Chaya Mushka, though it
sometimes happens that girls have the same last name, in which
case they say Chaya Mushka bas so and so. Or else, nicknames are
used, such as Chayale, Mushkie, Mussie, Chaike, etc.
the girls concur that the teachers definitely get mixed up, and
that sometimes it can even get pretty hilarious.
Mushka Amitai: Sometimes the teacher just says, “Chaya
Mushka!” and half the class cries out, “Who, me?”
Chaya Mushka certainly has much nachas from her thousands
of “daughters.” Her modest and humble personality guides all Bnos