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Please attend a "Shloshim" service
in memory of Mrs. Sima Itkin
of blessed memory
on Wednesday, July 23 at 7:00 PM
At the Peltz Center for Jewish Life

On Monday evening, the 21st of Sivan (June 23rd) Mrs. Sima Itkin, the mother of Rebbetzin Fagie Rapoport, passed away at age 86.

“Bubby” as she was called by her family, was born as Sima Raskin in 1921 in Leningrad, Russia. Together with millions of her fellow Jews living in Communist Russia, she struggled through very difficult times. In addition to the persecution against the Jews materially, it was also against the law to practice Judaism. Each day, men and women that secretly taught Torah to young children or had their newborn babies circumcised, were taken away by the Russian secret police, sentenced to hard labor in Siberia (or worse) and were usually never seen again.

One night in 1938, Sima was home with her two sisters when her father, Rabbi Yitzchok Raskin HY”D was arrested by the NKVD and taken from his home. His crime: operating an underground cheder (Hebrew school) and overseeing the women’s mikvah (ritual bath) and performing illegal circumcisions.

As her father was led out, he turned to his daughters and told them: For that which I am being arrested tonight - dedicate your lives!" He asked them not to abandon their faith, but rather to strengthen themselves and to continue to follow in the path of Torah, to continue to observe the commandments and traditions of Judaism – the exact crimes that led to his arrest!

Shortly thereafter, Rabbi Yitzchok Raskin, along with many other Chabad-Chassidim, was executed by the Russian government.

During WWII, Mrs. Itkin fled south with her new husband, Meir Itkin, to Samarkand, Uzbekistan, to avoid the advancing Nazi divisions, and lived there for the duration of the war. It was there that Rebbetzin Fagie Rapoport, her oldest child was born.

After moving to Paris for a few years, Rabbi & Mrs. Itkin emigrated to the United States, and arrived at Ellis Island. In addition to the hardships that so many of the immigrants suffered, they would not compromise on any of their religious beliefs, which caused many obstacles in establishing their future. They moved first to Philadelphia and finally settled in Brooklyn, purchasing a large home on Eastern Parkway, next door to the Chabad-Lubavitch headquarters and main synagogue.

As neighbors, Rabbi & Mrs. Itkin had a special relationship with the Lubavitcher Rebbe, and on various occasions, Mrs. Itkin had the great honor of preparing and sending various food-items for the Rebbe’s Shabbat or holiday table.

While she endured numerous tragedies in life, she was an incredibly strong woman with a positive attitude, and always had a smile on her face. G‑d blessed her with children, grand-children and great-grandchildren. Her home was always open to all; not only for her large extended family, but even strangers from all walks of life visiting Crown Heights were welcomed like family, and found for themselves a home away from home. Even until her last months, she would prepare Shabbat meals for dozens of guests.

Her husband of 66 years, the venerable Chossid, Rabbi Meir Itkin, passed away less than a year ago, just before the High Holidays.

While visiting her family here in Mequon, Mrs. Itkin became critically ill and passed away.

Many of us in our community have had the pleasure of meeting her and spending time with her during her extended visit to our community.  She was a modest and noble woman, who was very much loved by her children, grand-children, and great grand-children, and will be greatly missed by all.