The Nobel-Prize Winner’s Chassidic Niece

The Nobel-Prize Winner’s Chassidic Niece

One morning, a few days ago, I read that Professor William Nordhaus of Yale had just been awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics for his groundbreaking research on preventing climate change.

Later that morning, my phone rang. It was my dear friend who was about to leave on a short trip abroad with her husband.

“Would it be OK if my kids and mom come to you for Shabbat lunch?”

“No problem, with pleasure!”

“Thanks! I also wanted to share some exciting news, my uncle just won the Nobel Prize!”


So that is how I found out that my friend is Professor Nordhaus’ niece. And that is why, this Shabbat lunch, we had the honor of hosting Professor Nordhaus’ sister (Betsy, who made aliya a year ago to Raanana) and his 6 grand-nieces and nephews.

An interesting twist to this story is that my friend, Professor Nordhaus’ niece, and her children, are Chassidic. Her bar mitzvah boy just started wearing a black silk bekishe and hat on Shabbat (I can’t help smiling seeing him dressed like that, it’s so sweet!). And when I went this past Shabbat morning to pick them up for the meal, it took some extra time to get going since her 6-year-old had to curl his long peyos.

After learning of this surprising Nobel-Chassidic connection, I couldn’t help contrasting Professor Nordhaus with his sister’s daughter and Yiddish-speaking grandchildren.

Professor Nordhaus’ important research has been recognized by hundreds of millions of people around the globe.

And what about his niece and great-nieces and nephews? Who recognizes their contribution as they fill their lives, and thereby the world, with mitzvos, Torah study, acts of kindness and holiness.

A handful of friends, teachers, family members?

And instead of receiving their prize from the King of Sweden, they will receive theirs from a different authority altogether. The King of Kings.


  1. Sorah Berger

    Your posts are always so beautiful and inspiring. They always pick me up when I’m feeling down! And many times they move me to tears.
    I live in New Jersey and your blog is my favorite! I just wanted to send a message of appreciation

  2. You are really wonderful Chana Jenny,
    I live in Kiryat Arba and your blog is my favorite too!

  3. my favourite too 🙂

  4. I love this. The contrast between the public recognition of a nobel prize winer, and the private recognition of every Jew who fulfills Hashem’s will, is just startling. Really brings the point home.

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