What I Will Never Forget about Joe Lieberman OBM

What I Will Never Forget about Joe Lieberman OBM

17 years ago, Josh had a very, very special student, Hani Lieberman, the daughter of Senator Joe and Hadassah.
At the start of the year, I was a little nervous to meet Hani, the daughter of a one-time candidate for Vice President, but I needn’t have been. Even at 18 she was already deeply humble as well as super idealistic and passionate about Judaism and Israel. There was nothing not to love about her.
But when I heard that Hani’s parents would be coming to our annual Chanukah party for Josh’s students, my nervousness returned.
I was at the beginning of pregnancy, so on top of having 4 little kids, I was exhausted and nauseous. How would I be able to get my house in shape to host the Liebermans?!! My nervousness didn’t lessen when a few secret service agents from the US Embassy came by before the party to screen our house for security concerns.
But as soon as Joe and Hadassah arrived (in photo), again, it was clear that I had nothing to be nervous about. Like Hani, they were incredibly down-to-earth and friendly as well as very respectful towards us, their beloved daughter’s rabbi and “rebbetzin.”
Joe Lieberman will be remembered by millions of people for his countless contributions and achievements. But what I personally will never forget about Joe Lieberman is how, during that first conversation with him at that Chanukah party, I felt the rest of the world disappear as Senator Lieberman focused completely on me and what I was saying. It’s a feeling I’ve only had one other time when meeting a person for the first time, the other person was Henny Machlis ztz”l.
The year ended and Hani went to back home for college and then she got married and became a mother and fulfilled her dream of making aliya to Jerusalem with her growing family.
For a few years I was blessed to have Hani as my neighbor in Kiryat Moshe. She was my 7:30 AM school bus-stop buddy, and even after she moved to a different neighborhood, I’ve continued to see her at events at the school where our sons study together.
And maybe once a year I’d run into her parents during their visits to Hani.
And every time I saw Joe Lieberman, the experience of that Chanukah party so many years ago was repeated. The last time I saw him around a year ago, he asked me how my father was managing since my mother passed away after 54 years of marriage. He listened carefully, and then, with great sensitivity and clear emotion related how his own mother had struggled after his father died, leaving her a widow after 46 years of marriage.
Joe Lieberman was a rare human being, a person who rose from being the son of a liquor-store owner to become one of the most powerful people and Jews in the world. He stood up for Israel and the Jewish people and Shabbat and for what he believed was right, even when it was far from easy to do so. He was a person of deep integrity and loyalty to his family as well as to both his nations: the United States and the Jewish people.
But what I will never forget about Joe Lieberman is that even when he rose to the pinnacle of success, he remained a true mensch. Both my husband and I feel honored that we had the privilege of knowing a truly great man.
May Joe Lieberman continue being a determined advocate in the World to Come as he was in this world for all of Am Yisrael in these difficult times, as well as for the woman he loved, Hadassah, and for his beautiful family. May Hashem comfort Hani and Hadassah and the entire Lieberman family among all the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem, Amen.


  1. So beautiful. Amen!
    Thank you Chana Jenny

  2. So beautifully written. Thank you.

    (I would like to read your stories about Henny Machlis more, she had a big impact on my outlook on life.)

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