Rachel Chalkowski

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Rachel Chalkowski
Born
Rachel Bamberger

1939 (age 79–80)
Paris, France
ResidenceJerusalem, Israel
Other namesBambi
OccupationHead midwife
EmployerShaare Zedek Medical Center
Spouse(s)Rabbi Moshe Chalkowski
Websitewww.matanbseterbambi.org

Rachel Chalkowski (Hebrew: רחל שלקובסקי‎; born 1939) is an Israeli midwife and a gemach organizer. Widely known as Bambi,[1] she is a Haredi Jew, and is married to Rabbi Moshe Chalkowski, founding principal of Neve Yerushalayim College for Women. She worked for over 43 years as a midwife at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, and set up a charitable foundation to help impoverished Haredi families.

Biography[edit]

She was born Rachel Bamberger in Paris in 1939, and had one sister and one brother, the latter being born after their father was taken prisoner by the Nazi-allied government in 1944; her father was deported to his death in the Auschwitz concentration camp.[1] Always determined to become a nurse, she emigrated to Israel when aged 15 to live with relations in Haifa, and attended Bais Yaakov High School before enrolling as a student nurse at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem. After completing her nurse's training, she took a midwifery course, and embarked on her life-long career.[1] She worked at Shaare Zedek Medical Center for 43 years,[2] becoming Head Midwife, and delivering more than 35,000 babies.[3][4] After retiring from her full-time post at Shaare Zedek, she continued to work there for two nights each week. She asserts that: "Being a midwife is the most beautiful career in the world."[1]

Matan B'Seter Bambi[edit]

Noting the poverty of many new mothers from the Haredi sector, who often have large families and must help support them, Chalkowski established a foundation in 1973[4] called Matan B'Seter Bambi, named after Chalkowski's nickname from her days as a student nurse, when it had been necessary to give nicknames to several students all named Rachel.[1][5] The foundation has an annual budget of about USD$1 million, has 35 branches across North America and Europe, and is coordinated by volunteers in New York.[5] It supports over 400 needy families monthly.[6]

Documentary[edit]

Chalkowski and Haredi educator Adina Bar-Shalom are featured in the 2009 documentary film Haredim: The Rabbi's Daughter and the Midwife.[7][8][9]

Personal[edit]

She is married to Rabbi Moshe Chalkowski, founding principal of Neve Yerushalayim College for Women.[10] The couple have an adopted daughter, Michal, and two grandsons.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Siegel-Itzkovich, Judy (20 October 2007). "Welcome to the world!". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  2. ^ "An Evening of Remarkable Highlights at the Annual Dinner". Shaare Zedek Medical Center. Retrieved 13 December 2015.
  3. ^ Jessel, Adam (2007). "Jerusalem's Bambi". torah.org. Retrieved 13 December 2015.
  4. ^ a b "About the Founder". Matan B'Seter Bambi. Retrieved 13 December 2015.
  5. ^ a b c Kotkes, Leah (27 November 2006). "A Glimpse Into the Life of Rebbetzin Rochel Chalkowski" (PDF). Binah. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  6. ^ "2014 Women of the Channel: Francine Geller". crn.com. 2014. Retrieved 13 December 2015.
  7. ^ Rubin, Debra (14 January 2013). "Film shows complex lives of haredi women". New Jersey Jewish News. Retrieved 13 December 2015.
  8. ^ Fine, Arlene (29 September 2010). "Intimate look at Israel's haredi community". Cleveland Jewish News. Retrieved 13 December 2015.
  9. ^ belfilms. "The Rabbi's Daughter & the Midwife". IMDb. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  10. ^ Fort, Aviva (31 July 2014). "Neve Yerushalayim". Jewish Link of New Jersey. Retrieved 13 December 2015.