Renee Leitner ז״ל

In Loving memory

A Phenomenal Teacher

Like every child, I got to experience Mom in a lot of different ways. As my Mom, as “The Rabbi’s Wife,” as an enthusiastic gardener, as an artist, as a dreamer, as a free spirit who wouldn’t allow my mortal embarrassment influence her decisions (and that seemed to happen every other day). 
 
I have heard, time and again, how she was an amazing artist and a super considerate, outgoing, and fun person. And while I try to take the best parts of each facet of Mom with me, the thing I always come back to was that my mom was a phenomenal teacher. 
Ever cool, calm, and collected in the face of raging teenage horror-mones, she was an open ear for any student who needed to talk. And yet, under that calm was bubbling energy that wanted only the best for each of her students. And woe to those who said they weren’t smart enough or they couldn’t learn something – boy would Mom prove them wrong. 
 
It feels impossible to describe the feeling of being in a room when Mom was in “teacher mode.” The energy, enthusiasm, and personal interest she brought to her classroom, and her relationships with each of her students, was beyond measure – and the way the students responded –  Mom’s students loved her because she cared, really cared, about each one. 
 
Mom enjoyed teaching every chance she got, and in retrospect, I believe she saw in almost everything an opportunity to teach and learn – especially motherhood. And she taught us – constantly. Boredom was an opportunity to engage in art, a walk in the park a chance to learn about colors. Mom was at her best when she was teaching.
 
I will consider myself truly lucky if I succeed in bringing even a small part of Mom’s enthusiasm for educating into my life, into the courses I teach, and in my relationships. 
 
My mom – forever an artist, dreamer, and teacher.
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