Goldie Shifrin was a beloved figure to so many in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y. She was an integral part of the lifecycle events of so many women in the neighborhood, accompanying young brides along their journey starting out in life, teaching them the beauty of the Jewish marital traditions and family purity. And as a member of the Crown Heights Chevra Kadisha, she also prepared women for their final earthly journey. Shifrin passed away on April 4 after contracting COVID-19.

She was born Golda Miriam Haller in 1947 in the Bronx, N.Y., to Chananya and Faiga Rosa Haller. Her parents merited private audiences with the Rebbe—Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory—and his father-in-law and predecessor, the sixth Rebbe—Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, of righteous memory. They revered both, and admired their leadership and impact on the world.

Young Goldie attended Chabad’s flagship Camp Emunah from age 13, where she grew close to Chaya Kramer (Hodakov), who encouraged her to frequent Crown Heights for the Rebbe’s farbrengen gatherings, where the young girl became enamoured with the Chabad way of life.

She married Herschel Shifrin in 1965 in New York, and they raised three children.

Goldie Shifrin was known for her special sense of humor and her chesed. Friends described that kind-heartedness—someone who “stayed true to that for the entire 73 years of her life,” said her daughter, Sara Steinmetz.

“She always had something kind or witty to say and continuously made those around her smile,” recalled Steinmetz.

Passionate about the mitzvah of family purity, Shifrin assisted at the Crown Heights mikvah, in addition to teaching young brides about Jewish marital traditions. With her free time spent volunteering on JNet, Chabad’s over-the-phone study partner service, Shifrin influenced women of all walks of life.

“Her involvement with JNet has been truly remarkable, and the amount of feedback we are receiving about her dedication and impact is inspiring to us,” said her son, Eli Shifrin.

She worked an assistant preschool teacher for many years at the Mosdos Day Care Center in Crown Heights, and many have fond memories of her dedication to their little ones. She crocheted blankets as a charitable effort for sick children, and later, made beautiful ones for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

The Shifrin home was a hub for passers-by, guests and visitors. They may not have had much room, but she lived by the adage, “When there’s room in the heart, there’s room in the home.” They fostered open-door policy; all were welcome, whether for a snack of home-baked cookies or a room for the night.

In the 1970s, when the Hadar Hatorah yeshivah was established for young men finding their way and seeking to learn more about their heritage, Shifrin, who lived close by, opened her doors with fresh cake and coffee every Shabbat morning, the young men fast becoming regulars at her home in an often unfamiliar neighborhood.

Friends and family knew that the Shifrin home was their home while visiting New York; all the beds and often the living-room sofa were occupied by grateful guests. They hosted young college students during annual Pegisha get-togethers, when students annually spend a weekend in Crown Heights soaking up the rich Jewish culture and scholarship the enclave is known for. In recent years, she hosted young people who came in for the annual CTeen weekend of activities in February, not long after the annual International Convention of Chabad-Lubavitch Women Emissaries (Kinus Hashluchos).

Zev Shifrin said of his mother, “she was always very positive and very complimentary to family friends.”

Throughout her life, she remained steadfastly connected with the Torah—always careful about studying her daily quota—and her mentor, the Rebbe. After the Rebbe’s passing in 1994, she increased in heeding his call to reach and inspire every Jew. In fact, the English date of Shifrin’s passing coincides with Yud Aleph Nissan, the Rebbe’s birthday.

She was blessed with children and grandchildren who followed in her ways spreading Rebbe’s teachings, many serving as Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries across the world.

In addition to her husband and daughter, Shifrin is survived by two sons, Zev Shifrin and Eli Shifrin. She is also survived by siblings Avrohom Haller and Dovid Haller.

She was predeceased by another brother, Yisroel Haller in 2002.

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