Lubavitch Educational Center Remembers Beloved Preschool Morah, Leah Barouk OBM
This week marks the shloshim of Lubavitch Educational Center’s beloved preschool teacher, Morah Leah Barouk, of blessed memory.
Mrs. Barouk was the dedicated teacher of the 4-year-old class, educator of hundreds of students for over thirty years.
“Morah Leah made every student feel like he or she was a ben yachid, an only child,” says Head of School Rabbi Benzion Korf. “Everyone wanted their child to be in her class.”
LEC was not just the place she taught, but where her family began their journey to Yiddishkeit. After moving to Florida from Cuba in the sixties, Mrs. Barouk’s parents, Mordechai and Rochel Lichy, enrolled their son in Landow Yeshiva – LEC. One day, he came home and refused to eat the non-kosher dinner he was served. That marked a turning point for the entire family as they slowly grew closer to observance with the help of shluchim and bochrim of the Yeshivah. Today, the members of the extended Lichy family are proud Lubavitchers, shluchim, and mechanchim.
Mrs. Barouk gave back to LEC, devoting her life to educating the next generations. She will be remembered for her passion for teaching, her love and care for each and every student, and the excitement for Yiddishkeit and hands-on learning that she brought to her classroom.
“She was so dedicated,” remembers former preschool principal Mrs. Esther Wilyamowsky. “She taught the whole year and then was a morah in camp in the summers. For the two weeks between camp and school, she would still come in to work, setting up her classroom and getting all organized.”
She would check up on students who were in her class for years afterward. Mrs. Wilyamowsky says, “I’ve met young men who are no longer fully observant who still talk about Morah Leah and remember her fondly. Once you were her student, you were her student forever.”
All of Mrs. Shoshanit Levy’s eight children plus one grandchild were in Morah Leah’s class. Her daughter Simcha flew in from New York for her funeral. She says, “Morah Leah gave my daughter a strong foundation for Yiddishkeit. She taught her how to love Hashem.”
“She created these intricate crafts with us, ” says California shlucha Mrs. Chani Liberow (Dalfin), who was her student in 1998. “She understood that these projects meant a lot to us and she put in a lot of thought and creativity into each one. She made us feel so good and important. She made us really look forward to school.” Mrs. Fraydee Lozenik, parent of graduates of Morah Leah’s class says, “She was so caring, always soft-spoken with the sweetest smile.”“The impact Morah Leah had on generations of students is her living legacy,” says Rabbi Korf. “Her passing is a major loss for our school.”
photos by Mendy Bleier