Rae, was a great character. She found me at a book store in Florida and insisted we talk. I knew then we were of the same tribe. May you study well in Olam haba! GRR
From Rabbi Shohama Wiener In 2001 I served a nearby congregation for the High Holidays, and Rae generously invited me and my husband for a delicious lunch and an afternoon of spiritual friendship. Her dear friend Rabbi Nomi z"L was also there. That afternoon stands out in our collection of favorite memories. Rae was an amazing rabbi, rebbe, and friend.
My memories of Rabbi Rachel include going for long walks with her at Elat Chayyim, because she was very serious about exercise and taking care of her health. She showed a tremendous amount of self-discipline in adopting a very serious fitness regime. I knew her as a wise woman, a woman of valor and a supporter of Jewish education and community. We are saying kaddish for her each Friday and Saturday Shabbat service at my congregation in California.
There are so many things of joy and praise to be said about Rachel. One that glows so brightly for me is her sincere interest in the ‘doings’ and ‘being’ of others. When she would inquire and listen, I could feel the container of presence she was holding. In a world of self-centeredness, Rachel’s caring was and will always be such a wonderful model, and profound blessing. Andrew Gold; Maggid, Rabbinic Pastor
In 1992 I was honored to be present at Rabbi Rae's ordination. Among many memories of that happy day, I remember her mother, Selma Denburg, embracing a Torah scroll for the first time in her life as she beamingly watched her daughter take on the mantle of a teacher and leader of the Jewish people. Now I have helped lay this learned, witty and generous woman to rest in her family plot, close by her beloved Selma, her best friend and confidant of so many years. In between, I had the privilege of connecting with Rachel at countless ALEPH events--board meetings, retreats, the Kallah and the OHALAH conferences, sharing her learning, her insights and her boundless humor (Rachel was a master of Jewish Wry and when she got going, she was a hoot!) At the funeral we shared memories of Rachel, her wit and wisdom. One of my favorites is her metaphor of faith as a mountain. There are many paths leading up that mountain, she taught. Around the base it looks like the different paths are very far apart, but as you go higher up the mountain, the paths converge and you can see that they all lead to the same place. What is at the summit of that mountain? The Golden Rule, to treat others as we would want to be treated. Rachel climbed that mountain by her own path, and she saw the paths converge. She was a ground breaker and trail blazer-- as they say in the opening of Star Trek episodes (Rachel was an avid Sci-Fi fan.) --daring to go where no man had gone before...and, I would add, darn few women either. Rachel not only blazed her own trails, but also made sure that others could follow. She was passionately devoted to Jewish education, particularly to the education of women who felt called to serve the Jewish people as rabbis. To that end she established the Selma Denburg Scholarship of the ALEPH Rabbinic Program. The future impact of that legacy alone is immeasurable, but it was just one of Rachel's many far-reaching acts of Tzedakkah and generosity. I look forward to reading more stories and reminiscences on this site. I miss our Rabbi Rae and will always cherish her memory.
Seeing Reb Rachel at OHALAH year after year, I had never had the opportunity to sit down and talk with her until this year. Although our conversation was brief and more her sharing her disappointment that she could not stay up for late night learning, it was clear to me that she had much passion for teaching and much more that she wished to share with the chevreh. (Sigh) I regret not having been one of those she mentored, and I am grateful for the few moments we had and that our lives touched...if only briefly. May her memory be for a blessing... Rabbi Yocheved Mintz President, OHALAH Las Vegas, NV
On my last visit to Rabbi Rachel, I had the honor of helping her put up her sukkah out back beside her pool. There were just the two of us and it was a cool and windy day. We worried about whether or not there would be rain. When we finished, we went inside and shared tea and chocolate cake. More than just my mentor and teacher, Rae was also my friend. I will miss her dearly. I wish now that on my last trip to Florida, I'd been able to get down to see her for one more visit, even to have a dip in what she always called her "shark free swimming pool."
I am grateful for the time we spent together in January 09 - I so much appreciated this opportunity to get to know you better and learn from you. I will always remember your wit and your generosity... I will miss you.
We wrote "A few words about Rae, a friend and mentor" posted above. We will miss our friend and colleague, Reb Rae. B'chavod rav, Rabbi Dennis Beck- Berman and Rabbi Pam Frydman Baugh, Past Presidents of OHALAH, the international trans-denominational Association of Rabbis for Jewish Renewal
Rae, we would talk often on the phone, often about silly things and always about things that matter. We shared meals and other times at OHaLaH and other gatherings. OHaLaH will not be the same without seeing you there. You were an amazing mentor as I studied and I cherish the time we shared and the many ways you helped me grow. I will keep my promises to you. Thank you for being you.