Classmates and teachers of a young Jewish girl who succumbed to a brain tumor remembered her for a maturity beyond her years and a profound love of Jewish people the world over. Chaya Mushka Ashkenazi, who passed away June 17 at Tel Hashomer Hospital in Tel Aviv, was the daughter of Rabbi Chaim Eliezer and Rochel Ashkenazi, Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries in Bangkok, Thailand, since 2000. She was 7.

According to friends of the family, it was almost one year ago to the day that the Ashkenazis, who helped coordinate activities for all of Thailand's five Chabad Houses, travelled back home to Israel for a wedding. Her parents wanted to give the girl and her five siblings a chance to spend quality time with their extended family in Kfar Chabad and Jerusalem, but not long after the wedding, Chaya Mushka complained of extreme headaches and of not feeling well in general. Tests revealed the worst.

“Chaya Mushka was a unique child,” recalled Rabbi David Hadad, director of the day school in Bangkok where the girl attended classes from ages 2 to 6. “She was always helping everyone else, always sharing. For her, there was no such thing as accepting something just for herself. If someone gave her a candy, anything, she would give part of it to other children.”

A week after her passing, other children continue to speak about her.

“As soon as she learned to read,” noted Hadad, “she would read stories to the younger children, sometimes for hours. They loved this very much, and they really loved her. She was always looking after them, but the story time was the best for them.”

While doctors from the beginning stated that the young girl had, at most, eight months to a year, her family and friends refused to give up hope. In Israel and Thailand, and around the world, people prayed for her recovery as she underwent a series of treatments at Tel Hashomer. For much of the past year, she remained well enough to live at home with her family, who had moved into the home of her grandmother in Kfar Chabad.

But just after the holiday of Shavuot, things took a turn for the worse. She was admitted as an inpatient at Tel HaShomer just a week and half before she passed away.

After a funeral in Kfar Chabad, Chaya Mushka Ashkenazi was buried at the Mount of Olives cemetery in Jerusalem.

Her passing came as shock, particularly to the Jewish community in Thailand. Rabbi Yosef Kantor, director of Chabad-Lubavitch activities in the country joined Hadad and Rabbis Nechemya Wilhelm and Yossi Goldberg of Chabad of Bangkok to join the hundreds of people who comforted the family in the days following the tragedy.

Rabbi Chaim Eliezer and Rochel Ashkenazi, who concluded the traditional seven-day period of mourning known as shiva last week, plan to return to Thailand at the end of summer, where they will once again teach in the day school and help direct communal activities in Bangkok.