This week was different. I didn’t want to do this one, but I did it nonetheless, because part of being a Jewish mother is teaching our children about death and grief.

My daughter’s beloved Hebrew and Torah teacher, Yaffah (Gail) Korinow z”l, died early last Friday morning. She had been battling cancer, so we knew it was coming, but there is no amount of advance knowledge that can soften the blow of such a loss.

I only knew Yaffah for a short time, but her deep love of Judaism, children, and education impressed and inspired me from the moment I met her. Her presence and style with the children reminded me of the words of Denah Weinberg, an Orthodox Rebettzin, I recently found online: “Torah is not education, it is transformation.” Through her kindness, knowledge, and wisdom, Yaffah transformed the lives of those who knew her.

You can read the rest of this post for The Jewish Mother project over on