By MORDECAI SPECKTOR
Dr. Henia Liebhaber, who survived the Shoah and became a physician in Germany after the war, died on May 19 in Boca Raton, Fla. She was 87.
Liebhaber, the wife of former American Jewish World publisher Rabbi Marc Liebhaber, had been in frail health and confined to a wheelchair for several years.
The Liebhabers met and married in Munich, Germany, where a group of young Jews found refuge and educational opportunities after the war. The postwar group of Munich Jews formed a lasting bond and held reunions over the years.
Dr. Sabina Zimering, a retired physician in St. Louis Park, told the AJW this week that she met Dr. Liebhaber in Munich and they attended some of the same medical school classes.
Zimering mentioned that it was uncomfortable for the Jewish students to attend classes with the German men, who were still wearing coats and boots from their army uniforms.
Henia Liebhaber was pleasant and easygoing, according to Zimering, who added that the Liebhabers had an “elegant” home in Boca Raton.
After settling in the Minneapolis area, Zimering said, she was surprised when the Liebhabers arrived here in 1952. Dr. Liebhaber continued her medical training at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine, specializing in pediatrics.
“She was a walking encyclopedia,” recalled Mark Mandel, of Minnetonka, a business partner of Rabbi Liebhaber since the mid-’60s. He said that the rabbi relied on his wife to recall the names of acquaintances and other pertinent information.
Mandel said that Dr. Liebhaber, who worked for a state hospital in Anoka, was a “gracious lady,” who knew everyone in the synagogue.
Following the 1995 assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, the Liebhabers established the Marc and Henia Liebhaber Prize for the Promotion of Religious Tolerance and Cultural Pluralism in Israel, which is awarded annually at the commencement exercises of the Schechter Institute in Israel. Also, they provided funds for building the Marc and Henia Liebhaber Center for Jewish Education on the new Schechter campus in Jerusalem, which is under construction.
Locally, Rabbi Avraham Ettedgui, former principal of the Talmud Torah of Minneapolis and current spiritual leader of Sharei Chesed Congregation in Minnetonka, said that the doctor and rabbi established the Liebhaber Family Yom Hamoreh Endowment Fund for the purpose of honoring Talmud Torah teachers who had reached milestones in their teaching careers. The fund enables a substantial gift, such as a trip to Israel, for teachers to enhance their education and experience.
Liebhaber is preceded in death by a son, Howard. In addition to her husband, she is survived by a son, Paul, in Israel, and a daughter, Sharon, Wynnewood, Penn., and two grandchildren, Sam and Naomi.
Funeral services for Dr. Liebhaber were held Monday in New York City.
The American Jewish World extends it condolences to the Liebhaber family.
(American Jewish World, 5.28.10)