University of California, S. Barbara alumna Rebecca Pasternak has a message for the family of Charlotte Rohr, who passed away last October at the age of 78.

"Charlotte Rohr is part of the reason I get so much out of Chabad on Campus," said the 21-year-old Columbia University graduate student who recently finished learning a chapter of Chasidic thought in her memory. "Through her charity, I was able to get closer to G d."

Pasternak's statement underscores the feelings of many Jewish students touched by the generosity of the philanthropic Rohr family, which continues to help fund the activities of dozens of campus-based Chabad Houses. In the weeks following the matriarch's death, a network of Chabad-Lubavitch women emissaries on campus decided that a fitting way to honor her would be to divvy up the 53 chapters of Tanya and learn them with college students.

Written by the Alter Rebbe, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, the Tanya is a bedrock work of Chasidic thought that systematically analyzes the interplay between a human being's G dly and earthly components, and how one can use the struggle between them to both elevate the soul and the surrounding world.

"Mrs. Rohr's passing was a big loss to the Jewish community," said Chana Novack, co-director of Chabad on Campus serving Washington University in S. Louis, Mo, who organized the nationwide learning effort. "I wanted our group to do something in her memory that would serve as an inspiration for us to be better at what we do."

Novack and her husband, Rabbi Hershey Novack, benefited from a Rohr Family Foundation grant when they moved to S. Louis; they named their building the Rohr Center for Jewish Life.

"A lot of people felt saddened by the Rohr family's loss, and saw learning together as a great opportunity to do something special for them," said Novack.

A Lasting Impact

Rivkie Lipskier, co-director of Chabad at the University of Central Florida , echoed Novack's comments. She said that Rohr's daughter and son-in-law, Lillian and Moshe Tabacinic, have taken an active interest in the Chabad House's growth.

"What her family does for Chabad is absolutely unbelievable," said Lipskier, who will start learning her chapter of Tanya with students after classes resume this month. "Mrs. Rohr would ask questions about what we were doing on campus, and was genuinely happy to hear about all the programs. She really loved seeing Yiddishkeit flourish."

In S. Barbara, Calif., Chabad at UCSB co-director Rochel Loschak credited the Rohr family and its matriarch as "bringing us to where we are." After five years on campus, the Rohr Family Foundation made possible the purchase last year of the Chabad House's new center.

Loschak, who learned Tanya's 39th chapter with Pasternak during three one-on-one sessions in the middle of finals season, said that Novack's choice of the Tanya was a fitting vehicle to honor a great soul.

"Tanya deals so much with souls: the level of the soul, and what it means," she explained. "In essence, we are learning for a soul, so what better to learn than the text that gives so much insight into the topic?"

Pasternak said that the learning gave her a boost in her last college semester.

"You would think that learning something else takes time away from studying," she said. "But it gave me a wellbeing and state of mind to study better. It actually gave me energy."

Turning back to the Rohr family, she pointed out that her experience learning a chapter of Tanya has prompted her to continue learning with Loschak long-distance.

doing this chapter in her memory, we realized how much we enjoy learning with each other," said Pasternak. "Mrs. Rohr is still impacting so many Jewish students."