Elsa Cohen, Hy'd, the wife of the late HaRav Chananyoh
Cohen, the former Chief Rabbi of Kiryat Bialik, was brought
to rest following her tragic death in last week's bus bombing
Elsa Cohen was born in 5693 (1933) in Cologne, Germany. Her
mother passed away when she was three weeks old, leaving her
to be raised by her father, R' Shlomo Winter. When the
Holocaust began, through a series of miracles she managed to
escape to England, where she lived in her uncle's home in
London. She attended the city's chareidi school and at the
age of 18 began to teach at the Bais Yaakov school, where she
infused her students with a Torah education and pure yiras
During her childhood she frequented the home of HaRav Yosef
Tzvi Halevi Dunner, av beis din in London, which
served at a spiritual lighthouse for many Holocaust refugees
who arrived in England, shattered by the horrors of the war.
Rebbetzin Cohen continued to seek HaRav Dunner's advice and
guidance throughout her lifetime.
In London she worked as her a secretary for some twenty
years, postponing marriage in order to attend to her aunt,
the only surviving member of her family from before the war.
After the passing of her aunt, she moved to Eretz Yisroel and
married HaRav Chananyoh Cohen, the rov of Kiryat Bialik. In
his youth he had studied at Yeshivas Pressburg, where he had
the zchus to engage in Torah pilpul with the
Rogotchover Rov. As Rebbetzin, many local women sought her
counsel and assistance in various areas.
After her husband's passing she moved to Jerusalem for the
sake of her children's education, where she continued her
practice of visiting the sick and infirm to lend them
encouragement. She regularly attended Torah shiurim
and was on her way to one such shiur when a terrorist
boarded the bus and blew it up.
Many people came to take part in her levaya in Kiryat
Bialik. The first eulogy was delivered by HaRav Eliezer
Halevi Dunner, a member of the Shearis Yisroel beis
din, who noted her exceptional acts of chesed.
With a stirred and broken voice he related her life's story
based on his observations at his father's house over the
course of half a century, citing the verse, Kol beromoh
nishmo, nehi bechi tamrurim, Rochel mevakoh al bonehoh,
mei'anoh lehinochem . . ."
HaRav Akiva Hacarmi, the rov of Kiryat Shmuel, described her
tefillos and midos, for which she gained renown
and called on the members of the kehilloh to follow in
her footsteps. HaRav Yosef Ochana, the Sephardic Rav of
Kiryat Motzkin, also spoke, describing her mesiras nefesh
for the kehilloh. HaRav Dovid Druckman, Ashkenazi
Rav of Kiryat Motzkin, said of her, "Eishes chayil ateres
Rebbetzin Elsa Cohen, Hy'd, was buried at the Kiryat Bialik
Cemetery. She is survived by a son and daughter, both of whom
follow in the path charted by her and her husband