Feb 22, 2017
Rayna Clark, 69, OBM

Mrs. Rayna Clark, influenced by the Rebbe and known for her open home in Pittsburgh's Chabad community, passed away.

By COLlive reporter

Rayna Clark, an ardent Lubavitcher and a beloved mother, grandmother and friend to many, passed away on Wednesday, 26 Shvat, 5777.

She was 69.

Clark became enamored with the Rebbe and Chassidic teachings as a student at Yeshiva University's Stern College for Women in New York.

Rabbi Alter Metzger, Professor of Jewish Studies, invited her to spend a Shabbos in Crown Heights. It was a formative experience that was followed by many other visits as she connected with families in the community.

Clark soon moved to Crown Heights and got married. She continued her studies at Stern and graduated with a degree in education, with the Rebbe’s blessing.

After graduation, she moved to Pittsburgh, where she and her husband became vibrant members of the Chabad community, hosting many guests over Shabbosim and Yomim Tovim. She worked as a math teacher at the Yeshiva Schools and Lubavitch Center of Pittsburgh.

On a return trip to Pittsburgh, after visiting Crown Heights, Clark and her husband were left injured in a serious car accident. The Rebbe expressed concern, even sending a bottle for the couple to make a l’chaim. In response to a letter soon after, the Rebbe wished them besoros tovos. A year later, they had a baby girl.

Clark and her family later moved to Monsey and then to South Fallsburg, NY. In both communities, she always ensured that her home was open to those in need of physical and spiritual comfort and guidance. Her incredibly friendly and open manner made her many friends and admirers along the way.

In 1991, she returned to the Pittsburgh community as a single mother with 3 children where she purchased a home across the street from the Lubavitch Center on Wightman St. Her home became a warm and inviting place for people to stop by and they did frequently.

Taking a job at Pinsker’s Judaica, the only Judaica store in Squirrel Hill, she became a fixture in the community. Visitors to the area found a welcoming and friendly presence who was excited to help them explore Judaism, introduce them to others in the community, and find them places to stay for Shabbos.

As a single mother, she had a special place in her heart for women in similarly difficult situations. When a single mother from West Virginia visited the bookstore looking for books on Judaism, she invited the mother and her two daughters to stay with her family for a Shabbos and then connected them with the greater community. Because of her welcome, that family moved to the area, became observant and integrated into the community.

During Rayna’s time in Pittsburgh, she developed a wide network of friends and thrived as a member of a Chabad womens’ theatrical group, Kol Isha, and other organizations. As a friend to many and an avid supporter of the Chabad community, she volunteered to help in a myriad of ways, including hosting an annual fundraiser for the Chabad Yeshiva, and regularly visiting the elderly and sick.

Rayna approached everyone with kindness and care – friends, newcomers as well as strangers in need of money or food. She did not just give them what they needed, she also took the time to talk with them and dispense advice and strength.

Despite the many challenges that Rayna faced, she did not complain and was never bitter, always smiling and looking forward to her next opportunity with optimism and openness.

Her next opportunity took her to Los Angeles in 2002, where she would live for 8 years. There, she worked as a librarian for a local girls high school. She transformed the school’s library into an inviting and homey space filled with comfortable furniture and more books gleaned from many trips to garage sales, flea markets, and second-hand stores.

In 2010, she returned to Pittsburgh, to the community that always held her close. This time, as a dorm mother at the Tzohar Seminary for Chasidus and the Arts, she took loving care of the girls who studied there, giving them guidance and friendship as she shared her experiences with them.

In 2012, Rayna was diagnosed with cancer. While she had to leave her position at Tzohar, the seminary has since dedicated their annual artists showcase to her, in the hopes of her refuah shaleimah.

In her final months, Rayna said goodbye to her dear friends in Pittsburgh in order to live near her daughter and grandchildren in Washington, DC. Her second daughter moved from California to the DC area to care for her. Even as Rayna grew more ill, she continued to form new deep friendships every day. Among people in the Washington DC area, she became known simply as “Bubby.”

This article only scratches the surface in telling about the many lives that were affected by Rayna’s kindness. Each of the hundreds of her contacts has their own story of a deep connection to Rayna. Her phone was always ringing, with people calling to laugh and talk things through, to share their problems and to hear the thoughtful advice that she selflessly dispensed. Even as her health declined, she always focused on the needs of others and shared the wonderful parts of her days in order to brighten theirs.

Rayna experienced the world with a deep sense of awe at the beauty of others’ accomplishments and the world around her. We hope to carry that awe with us in our memories of her. She will be deeply missed by her children, grandchildren, friends, and the many people she touched along the way.

She leaves as her legacy countless friends and admirers and an abiding commitment and love for her Chassidic way of life and her ultimate mentor and teacher, the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

Rayna is survived by her children, Chani Laufer - Chevy Chase, MD, Yehuda Clark - Brooklyn, NY and Devorah Leah Clark - Santa Barbara, California, and four grandchildren, Moshe, Shoshana, Ari and Erez.

The Levaya will take place tomorrow, Thursday at 2 PM at Ohev Shalom -- The National Synagogue, at 1600 Jonquil Street, Washington, D.C.

She will be buried at the Judean Gardens Cemetery in Olney, Maryland at 4 PM.

Donations can be made in her honor to the Tzohar Seminary for Chassidus and the Arts at http://www.tzoharseminary.com/donate.

Baruch Dayan Ha'emes.



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Opinions and Comments
1
Wow...what an inspiration!
She sounds like a super powerhouse of amazing energy who is surely activating refuos yeshuos unechamos on high for us all....may we meet her very soon right here in a better world!
(2/22/2017 11:26:28 PM)
2
So sorry
Baruch Dayan HaEmes! Rayna, we will miss you terribly! Your spunk, your emesdikeit, your smile, your sweetness. Thanks for your friendship! So sorry to hear, Chani. May you only know of simchas in the future. Esther Brusowankin Moses.
(2/22/2017 11:52:04 PM)
3
Esther(Benarroch)Michael
Bde- I am sorry to hear about your loss. Your mother , grandmother was an amazing women. She will be missed by all. I knew your mom from Los Angeles. She always had a smile on her face. May we only share in simchas from now on.
(2/22/2017 11:58:17 PM)
4
Bde
I remember her from my time in Pittsburgh.
(2/23/2017 12:03:15 AM)
5
She was my classmate at stern college
She was my classmate at stern college. We had rabbi alter metzger as one of our professors. He encouraged me to go to the rebbe when the rebbe spoke to the women at the womens convention after which women went up individualy to speak to the rebbe. I became lubavitch after meeting with the rebbe. The rebbe encouraged me to bring people to crown hts for shabbos. Among several others who have become lubavich and who have lubavitcher grandchildren was rayna. Once i went to the rebbe for lechach on hoshana rabba. I told him it was for people i was bringing that day to lubavitch but didnt tell him the number but he gave me the exact amount for the people i was bringing. I am so happy rayna accomplished so much. She will be missed.
(2/23/2017 12:35:09 AM)
6
Morah Reyna
When I was 11 year old, there was no Yeshiva for me in Italy, so I traveled from Italy, as a young boy to learn in Pittsburgh. It was very hard for a young boy far from home. I also didn't know the language (yet). But at least I was on par in math. Morah Rayna was "the" math teacher at my Zeidy's school (Rabbi Sholom Posner) and she gave me all the time in the world to assist me and to be "part of the class" and I succeeded very well. That summer, when I was back home, one day I get a package in the mail, it was from Morah Reyna, a game of cards with numbers to continue to excel in math!
Thank you Morah Reyna, I owe you a lot!
Levi Yitzchok Garelik
(2/23/2017 12:42:48 AM)
7
Wow
#6.
That kind of devotion belongs to yesteryear.
You'd be hard pressed to find teachers like that today.

You were lucky to have Morah Reyna.

May the living take heart.
(2/23/2017 12:57:27 AM)
8
Boruch Dayan HaEmes
Devorah Leah--Boruch Dayan HaEmes. You loved your mother so much. I remember her from Camp Gan Yisroel in Detroit, so many years ago. Such a sweet person. And all these beautiful ways she touched people. May Hashem comfort you and the family, and may she be a maylitz yosher for all of you and gantz Klall Yisroel. We need Moshiach Now, Please Hashem.
Mrs. Devorah Loschak
(2/23/2017 1:42:15 AM)
9
Debby Glick, Modiin, Israel
So inspiring. What a loss for the world.
May everything Rayna contributed and
shared with so many give her neshama
comfort and an aliyah shelemah.
Baruch Dayan Emet
(2/23/2017 1:42:55 AM)
10
Will be missed...
When I picture Rayna, (my former math teacher, and then a dear friend) she is always smiling and gracious. May her neshama have the highest aliyah, which is ultimately, back here, with the coming of Moshiach. Boruch Dayan HaEmes.
DL Rosenfeld
(2/23/2017 1:44:38 AM)
11
Baruch Dayan HaEmes
Rayna...you were one of the sweetest ladies I met...both in my short time of living in Pittsburgh; & when you lived in Los Angeles.
May your children only know of strength & Simchas.
May your sweet & pure Neshama reach a lofty height in Gan Eden.
With warm condolences,
Miriam & Hessel Kessler
(South Africa-Long Beach-Pgh-LA)
(2/23/2017 2:05:13 AM)
12
BDE
I only knew Reyna from her visits to 770, she often stayed at the Baumgarten's. The happy, smiling lady that I met on those occasions and the wonderful talks we had, I will always hold dear!
Simcha Freedman/London
(2/23/2017 2:51:53 AM)
13
An appropriate Tribute
Baruch Dayan haEmes. I am so saddened by this news of my dear friend Rayna. The write up is so very accurate of Rayna's journey in this world. I also met her at Stern College where she introduced me to the Baumgartens, although I had already been a frequenter in Crown Heights. I don't know where to begin to describe her greatness but this article and the other comments are an accurate portrayal of her devoted life. May she be a gutte better from her new abode on high and may her family be comforted with the enormous legacy of kindness she left behind.
(2/23/2017 6:49:46 AM)
14
A wonderful woman and friend
I knew Rayna from her time in Los Angeles and also followed her during her illness. Baruch Dayan haEmes. May Devorah Leah and her siblings be comforted among all mourners.
Chava Gerber/Los Angeles
(2/23/2017 9:24:50 AM)
15
friend
Rayna was a wonderful wonder woman. She was always pleasant and encouraged others to reach their goals. She was happy for other's happiness though some of things we take for granted passed her by with no complaints.
Those who knew her from Pittsburgh and Mckdesport admired her grace and aristocratic manner. She had the zchut to see her beautiful middos in her children and may Chanie and her younger siblings be blessed for their love and devotion to her. May all the future little Raynas named after her be a merit to her. May her good name be a comfort to Chanie, Dvora Leah and Yehuda. Chami (Chinn) Landesman
(2/23/2017 12:22:52 PM)
16
Shocked!
BD"E

A former classmate at Stern.

Penina (Penny Tunis) Metal
(2/23/2017 4:28:47 PM)
17
What a wonderful person!
Many years ago in Pittsburgh. I was 13. We performed for the n'shei Chabad convention... Rayna was in charge. What an amazing success! On stage on Shabbos Friday night.
"It's our happy hearts you hear
singing loud and singing clear
And it's all because you're here
Stay a while ....
We are all so glad you came
Pittsburgh will never be the same
......
May Hashem bless you Chani and all your family with strength and comfort ... only simcha from now on...
Mashiach now!
Perel
(PS. I was your babysitter when you were an infant)
(2/23/2017 6:00:16 PM)
18
Sad to Hear
BS"D

Rayna had a kind and generous heart. She looked to see what was needed. After coming to our Shul a few times (Ahavas Yisroel Shul in L.A.), she determined that air- conditioning was needed in the Kiddush room. She had it installed out of her own pocket (which was not very deep at all).
She had many encounters with the Rebbe, but one stands out. Waiting on line with many other women, she was given a Siddur by the Rebbe. "The other women looked at me enviously," she told me years later, "but the Rebbe knew I would need that Siddur to pour my tears into."
Indeed, she went through many hardships in her life, but she was always positive. She will be missed by many!

Sterna Citron
(2/23/2017 6:18:10 PM)
19
My Very Special Friend
Rayna was a very dear friend to many people, but especially to me. We met 28 years ago when we both worked at Pinskers Judaica Store in Pittsburgh and have been friends ever since. All that was said about her previously is true; she was a very sweet, kind and generous woman who would give to anyone in need even if she didn't have that much herself. She loved to help people.
The few times I came to visit her from Israel, she went out of her way to make sure my sleeping arrangements were just so and bought all kinds of special groceries just so I would have what I might like while I was with her.
Rayna talked me into joining Kol Isha with her many years ago and it was one of the highlights of my life. We had such good times together and I will always cherish them.
She had more faith in Hashem (or as she would say "The Abishter") than anyone else I know. She was very spiritual and dedicated to Chabad and Chasidus and loving and kind to everyone, even strangers.
She adored her children and grandchildren emensely and derived much nachus from all of them.
Chani, Steve, Yehuda, Nechama and Devorah Leah were so very good to her and made these last few difficult years much more tolerable for her. She was so very grateful for their loving attention to her and her needs. May Hashem reward them for honoring her the way that they did.

May she rest in peace and may her children and grandchildren have many years of Torah and Mitzvahs and bring her neshama much nachus for many years to come. She will be sorely missed, especially by me.
Chani, Yehuda and Devorah Leah, may you all be comforted among the mourners of Tzion and Yerushalaim!

Evie Wasosky
(2/24/2017 5:54:13 AM)
20
#17
Can't believe you remember Rayna's song after all these years! What amazing talent Rayna had!
(2/24/2017 9:25:27 AM)
21
BDE
I, too, was a classmate of Rayna a"h in Stern College. She was a true friend, and a true Bas Yisroel. She always tried to do the right thing, even it required some mesiras nefesh on her part.
Rabbi Alte BenZion Metzger gave many of us students the time, patience, and encouragement that we needed to grow in our Yiddishkeit, and experience Chabad firsthand. After college, Rayna and many others of us married and raised Lubavitch families.
She will be remembered forever by her children and grandchildren, and all the good friends she made over her lifetime. May she have a lichtig Gan Eden!
Malka (Farber) Litzman
(2/25/2017 10:14:14 PM)
22
Baruch Dayan Ha Emes
Dear Rayna, You were so modest and down-to-earth, I never knew much of what is written above. I just knew how kind and caring you were all of the years when we lived in Pittsburgh. May her family have strength and comfort from the many good deeds she did for others. Only simchas and good times for all of you to honor such a beautiful person as Rayna. Nancy November
(2/26/2017 2:27:30 PM)
23
Friend & neighbor form LA
I was so saddened to hear the news. Rayna & I were very close when she lived in LA. My heart is with all of you, Chani, Yehuda & Devorah Leah. My kids all remember your mother as easy-going, happy, & generous. May you have only simchas!
Tracy Rozen
(2/28/2017 12:16:31 PM)
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