Mrs. Gita Gansburg, a longtime role model and mentor to thousands of young Jewish women returning to Jewish tradition, passed away in Brooklyn, N.Y. She was 86 years old.
As “dorm mother” at Machon Chana-Women’s Institute for the Study of Judaism in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, Mrs. Gansburg served as a living example of Chabad-Lubavitch life as a wife, mother and friend—influencing generations of young women who went on to become Jewish wives and mothers, and establish their own Jewish homes around the world.
Mrs. Gansburg was born in the former Soviet Union to a noted ChabadChassidic family. Her father, Rabbi Refoel Nachman Kahn, studied at YeshivahTomchei Temimim in the town of Lubavitch, Russia, and was the author of Shemu’os VeSippurim, an authoritative multi-volume compilation of historical accounts and anecdotes culled from the traditions handed down by Chassidim of earlier generations, as well as his own experiences.
The Kahn family eventually settled in Kfar Chabad, Israel, where Gita married Rabbi Yitzchak (“Itchke”) Gansburg. Together with her husband, she traveled from city to city, where the couple founded many Chabad day schools all over the country. They also founded the first Gan Israel overnight camp in Israel, which Mrs. Gansburg directed for many years.
After they moved to New York in 1976, Mrs. Gansburg was personally designated for her role at Machon Chana by the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory. Machon Chana is named after the Rebbe’s mother, Rebbetzin Chana Schneerson.
On learning of Mrs. Gansburg’s passing, numerous former students at Machon Chana took to Facebook to express their sorrow.
Among the many comments were: “She showed so much love and dedication to each and every girl and woman who came through Machon Chana’s doors”; “She was indeed my mentor, mother and role model in my early years ofYiddishkeit”; “My girls regarded her as grandmother”; and “What a kind and special woman she was! She was a bracha (blessing) to every person she touched.”
Mrs. Gita Gansburg was predeceased by her husband in 2006. She is survived by her children, Rabbi Yosef Gansburg of Toronto; Mrs. Nechama Chanin of Brooklyn, N.Y.; and Mrs. Fradie Brod of Israel, as well as many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She is also survived by her brother, Rabbi Yoel Kahn of Brooklyn, N.Y.
The levaya procession will take place today, leaving Shomrei Hadas at 9:45 a.m. It will pass by the Machon Chana dormitory at 1367 President St., where students and alumnae will gather at 10:20 a.m., and will pass by Lubavitch World Headquarters at 770 Eastern Parkway at 10:35 a.m.