"Rabos bonos osu choyil, ve'at olis al kulono."
It was with a sense of deep shock that the many friends and
admirers of Rebbetzin Kela Steinhaus o"h heard of her
It was so typical of her not to make any fuss, but to accept
the will of Hashem calmly and to carry on her daily duties to
the best of her ability until the very end. Even those who
surrounded her daily in Cape Town were totally unaware of the
extent of her illness, and her passing took them completely
by surprise. She always shunned publicity yet the large
levaya which accompanied her to her final resting
place on Har Hamenuchos and the distinguished maspidim
were tribute to the high regard in which she was held.
Already from her formative years, Kela displayed sterling
qualities of leadership and dedication to the Torah standards
she had learnt in the home of her illustrious parents, HaRav
Yaakov HaCohen Salzer zt"l and his Rebbetzin
shetibodel lctv"a, who were pioneers of harbotzas
Torah in Johannesburg. It was in this spirit that in 1964
she took the gigantic step of becoming the first girl from
South Africa to apply to the Gateshead Seminary -- which in
those days meant leaving her home for three years without
returning in between. She stood out as an exemplary student
and set a trend for other South African girls to follow.
After her marriage she returned to South Africa with her
husband, HaRav Shmuel Steinhaus ylctv"a, who became a
founding member of the Johannesburg Kollel. The rest of her
short life she gave selflessly to support her husband in all
his endeavors in rabbonus, chinuch and kiruv
rechokim, often in places lacking many Jewish facilities.
It is hard for those of us who live in a totally frum
environment to fully understand what it means to "do without"
in order to maintain the highest standards of Kashrus. It
also meant sending her children away at a tender age in order
to give them the best possible chinuch. She was
zoche to see all of them following in her ways.
Rebbetzin Steinhaus o"h was a dedicated, devoted and
very talented teacher. In her thirty-year career she left a
lasting impression, teaching all ages from kindergarten
children to adults.
She will be best remembered for her last 15 years in Cape
Town, where she and her husband established a spiritual oasis
of uncompromising Torah values for themselves and their
family. Their home was always open to searching students,
visitors, and the many frum holidaymakers who constantly
found their way to Cape Town.
During the shiva countless people told of the
tremendous influence Kela had on their lives. In fact, during
her last days, instead of focusing inwardly on her own
situation, she was typically still on the phone trying to
arrange accommodations in England for a student of hers.
"Meis be'erev Shabbos simon yoffe lo, shenichnas lemenucha
miyad" (Kesuvos 103b). After a short but fully
accomplished lifetime, Kela Steinhaus z"l returned her
pure soul to her Maker on erev Shabbos Parshas Tzav
just at the moment that Shabbos entered.
May she be a meilitz yosher for her family and Klal