An evening of chizuk took place last week to remember Mrs Anna Finchas o”h at the Edgware Adath Yisroel synagogue. The evening was in aid of Em Habanim, Jerusalem’s support centre for orthodox single mothers and their children. Mrs. F. Frank introduced the proceedings and recalled the quiet yet influential presence that Mrs Finchas projected within the Edgware community. Mrs Mindy Wiesenberg spoke of Mrs Finchas’s enduring work for Emunah and her own emunah in all her endeavours. Both Rabbi Danny Kirsch and Rabbi Yehudah Silver testified to the ‘open door’ approach which Mrs Finchas and her husband personified. All were welcome. Rabbi Kirsch reminisced on the close friendship of several generations of Mrs Finchas’s Pollock family and his own in Letchworth. Rabbi Silver, another close friend of the Finchas family, who had flown in from Eretz Yisroel just for the evening, gave a shiur on the subject of creativity – a topic close to the heart of Mrs Finchas who was an artist.
Rebbetzen Rivka Rottenberg also addressed the community which had come out in large numbers to remember Mrs Finchas. She spoke passionately and with great sensitivity about the plight of families in a fatherless home and the great emotional and physical struggles that mothers had to wage to ensure a modicum of stability for their potentially rudderless children. She spoke about the courage exhibited by mothers to prevent their children from dropping-out from the educational system and turning to the street.
Her organisation Em Habanim operates centres in both Jerusalem and Beitar Illit which support some 400 families comprising 1200 children. Em Habanim provides ‘a listening ear’ and personal attention which restores a sense of self-worth within the exhaustion of everyday life. It provides individual therapy to mother and children – tools to cope. Recognising that the family unit has been the great source of strength throughout the history of the Jewish people, Em Habanim seeks to reinforce and fortify the positive links between mother and child. It has also created support groups for families in similar situations. But most important, the organisation emphasises spiritual strength and arranges communal celebrations on yomtovim for these families.
Rebbetzen Rottenberg was heard with great reverence on this sensitive subject. She commented that their goal was to rebuild the home, to allow the children to emerge from the cycle of total disconnection and ultimately to construct their own traditional abode on firm foundations.
Mr Asher Finchas spoke movingly of his late wife’s many qualities and endorsed this cause in his wife’s memory. The evening concluded with the singing of Adon Olam whose words had great meaning for Mrs Finchas.