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Francoise Jacobs


In the next few days and weeks you will no doubt be getting hundreds, perhaps even thousands of letters from Avigail’s students about what a wonderful mechanechet, a wonderful person and a wonderful role model she was. And of course all of this is true…but the amazing thing that I believe will also happen is that they will all call her “My Avigail” because whether Avigail had a relationship with a student, a friend or a family member she was all in! She made you feel like you were so important to her and you were. She honestly cared for you and truly listened to your most profound as well as your most mundane conversations as if they were the most important thing she could be doing at that moment…even when she was in pain and had other much more important things to deal with she always wanted to share a close bond.

This past year she had to obviously undergo very significant and debilitating treatments, however, that’s not what was on her mind. She chose to not let her health distract her from her true love which was taking care of others. She always made time for others…as I sat planning my son’s bar mitzvah she wanted to know details like where would it be and who would come, all so that she could “share” in our simcha even though it would be physically impossible for her to do so.
One story I want to share about her as a wonderful teacher was from our years in Midreshet together (93-95). We had a chaburah about the Chofetz Chaim’s shmiras halashon and I remember her clearly saying that one part that would be the most difficult for her (she was obviously not yet married) to keep would be lashon harah between her and her husband. She envisioned a marriage which bh, later materialized where there could be nothing to stand between her and her husband. She so badly wanted to keep the halachos of shmiras halashon and so she recognized that this would be so difficult. I know from our conversations about her intense love and admiration for Yehuda, and for all of her kids. She gave her life to her students and modeled what it meat to live Torah while at the same time keeping the loves of her life, her family, closest to her heart. My heart breaks for you all, I loved her as well and I can only imagine how much you must miss her as well. 
Hamakom yinachem etchem b’toch shaar avelei tzion v’yerushalaim, 
Francoise Jacobs
Cleveland, Ohio