Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis—the founder of the Hineni Heritage Center, and an international inspirational speaker and mentor—passed away on Aug. 23 in New York. She was 80 years old.

She was born in 1936 in Szeged, Hungary, where her father, Rabbi Avroham Halevi Jungreis, was a rabbi. The family was among the passengers of the “Kastner train,” a group of cattle trucks that shuttled more than 1,500 Jews out of Hungary and into Switzerland beginning in June 1944, a journey that included for some a diversion for a number of months to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany, saving them from the Holocaust. They settled in New York in 1947.

After her marriage to Rabbi Meshulem Halevi (Theodor) Jungreis (a distant relative), she joined her husband in North Woodmere on Long Island, N.Y., where he founded a congregation.

She was among the first to heed the call of the Lubavitcher Rebbe—Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory—to proactively share the beauty of Judaism with Jewish people, regardless of background or affiliation.

To that end, she founded the Yeshiva Ateres Yisroel day school in Brooklyn, N.Y., which catered to students from nonreligious homes.

A powerful speaker and prolific writer with an endearing personality, she spoke to the hearts of audiences around the world and inspired many to explore their Jewish roots. Much of her work was through the Hineni outreach organization that she founded in the early 1970s.

She is survived by her children: Chaya Sora Gertzulin, Rabbi Yisroel Jungreis, Slovie Jungreis Wolff and Rabbi Osher Jungreis; in addition to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.