In a very sorrowful funeral which took place this past Sunday night, Leah Esther Cholak, life partner to the founder of an empire of chessed, Ezer MiZion, was laid to her eternal rest, escorted by over ten thousand people of the creme and elite of the Torah world: rabbonim, roshei yeshiva, dayonim, bnei Torah and thousands of others. She assisted her husband in creating and turning this organization into a massive, monumental stronghold of chessed and indeed, her entire life was devoted to helping others and sacrificing herself for her sick, depressed and suffering brethren.
The deceased was born fifty-eight years ago to R' Eliezer Schwartzman, and Sara, in Netanya. Her father was one of the outstanding disciples of HaRav Meir Shapiro of Lublin, and a dear friend of the Admor of Strikov. With his aliya, he settled in Netanya, where he established a Daf Yomi shiur which he kept up throughout the years.
In this home, which was a bastion of Torah and all that is holy, in this home, where the Bais Yaakov of Netanya was first founded and where the poor, ill-fated and miserable Jews found a ready and open haven, a home open to every worthy cause or for every individual in need, a home founded upon chessed, love for Torah and its pursuers, good deeds of all kinds — in this outstanding home, Leah Esther grew up and her noble character was molded. Her unique personality developed in the atmosphere steeped in Halacha, modesty, purity of ways, as she continued in life to do justice to her upbringing. All the worthy attributes of love for Torah and chessed and a strong affinity to helping anyone in need found their springboard from this exemplary home, and catapulted her into a life continuing what she had absorbed.
After her marriage, she began teaching very successfully in the Be'er Yaakov seminary with the gift of her unique charm and charisma anchored in purity and love for chessed which overflowed unto her students. She made a tremendous impact on her students and actually cast the outlines of their spiritual character.
After her marriage, her father took ill and she was the one who cared devotedly for him, together with her illustrious husband, R' Chananya Cholak. His deep involvement in the medical aspect of his father-in-law's state gained him extensive medical knowledge and he began to make the acquaintance of a broad spectrum of doctors and their specialties, gaining expertise in the subjects of rehabilitation and help to the sick.
Today, the scope of Ezer MiZion has developed to fifty-seven centers throughout Israel, with the main headquarters in Bnei Brak. The heads of the seven-story high central headquarters on Rechov Rabinow in Bnei Brak oversee fourteen thousand volunteers, provide medical and emotional assistance to thousands of sick people and their families, all under the capable administration of Rabbi Chananya Cholak and his late wife, Rebbetzin Leah Esther.
Over ten thousand men, women and children participated in the funeral which took place this past Sunday night 16 Cheshvan, leaving from the Ezer MiZion building. They, and the foremost leaders of the Torah world: rabbonim, roshei yeshiva and their students, all converged to escort to her last rest, this great woman who sacrificed herself for Klal Yisroel, and to express their high regard for her all encompassing lifetime work for the ill and suffering throughout the entire Eretz Yisroel.