Rabbi Shoni Labowitz Z”L, Enjoy your continuous adventure and know you are so very missed. Click Here to view a video montage of Rabbi Shoni and her extraordinary life.
Michel Joseph Pugin Osb
Another soul has gone Home. The world just lost a beautiful, dear and exceptional woman who has and still is truly a prophet of our times. The radiance and the Shekinah glory of the living G_D shined through her and like the rays of the sun, touched all who crossed her path. In her art she revealed the true nature of G_D and brought G_D down to us. That, God is not a King sitting on a throne in heaven, but that G_D is in each and everyone of us from the day of conception. Every human being is a Child of G_D and that every human being has within themselves the “GENE” of the Divine who is G_D.
May the angels lead you to paradise. May the martyrs receive you at your arrival and lead you to the holy city Jerusalem. May choirs of angels receive you and with Abraham, may you have eternal rest. You have not touched the face of G_D!
See you soon, sweet Rabbi Shoni! We love you!
No matter how prepared we are, we are never ready for the permanence of those we love transitioning to spirit. Today is a very sad day for so many of us. Those of us who mourn the loss of Rabbi Shoni Labowitz know that while her physical presence will be missed, her light will never go out, as a part of her will always shine through each of us. She taught us well, and while she fought to stay because she felt she had so much more to do here, I trust she will still find a way. Rabbi Shoni, rest in eternal peace. Your name and your memory will forever be a blessing. Rabbi Shoni, we are all better for having known you.
The memorial service for our beloved Rabbi Shoni Labowitz was beautifully sad and sadly beautiful. She was, amongst other things, an artist, and we, her family, friends and community, her canvas. Rabbi Shoni brought people to life, helped them find their unique divine spark, and created a community of connectivity and love. She saw the world in vibrant color, and her wishes for us to dress that way at her “farewell for now” service were honored, in hues of all the colors of the rainbow. We sang and danced to honor the woman who encouraged us all to find our own song and dance as if no one was watching.
As I listened to Rabbi Marc, Rabbi Arik, Dr. Lisa and Nola speak about their mother, their teacher, their friend, I was magnetically drawn to look at the photograph of Rabbi Shoni that was projected above the bema. Even in her picture, her smile and her eyes shone so bright, and penetrated my soul. Whenever she looked into my eyes I felt she was having a secret conversation with me that required no words.
I pray that now that Rabbi Shoni is at peace, her family and friends will be comforted by their memories and always see her smile in the moments when they miss her most.
So sad that I just lost one of my closest friends whom I loved and admired – Rabbi Shoni Labowitz. She “got me.” She told me the truth – hers and mine. She made me feel loved and wanted. She accepted the raw me – without judgment. Shoni came to my birthplace home, my history, my family and friends in Charleston to be MY memory keeper. We shared so many times laughing and crying, celebrating and mourning. When my parents passed away, she supported me so that I could continue to live life fully. She was my morning ride call and my evening day in review call. Losing Shoni is a devastating loss to me personally, to the community and to the world. I can’t speak for others, but for me, the world was a bit dimmer this morning without my friend Shoni’s bright and shining light – from within and emanating out to us all, bathing me with the best that this world has to offer. Shoni Labowitz – I love you….I will always hold a space in my heart for you.
Our dear sweet Rabbi Shoni Labowitz passed today. The outpouring of love for our Angel on Earth, now an Angel in Heaven is nothing short of a testament to the love, wisdom, light and legacy that touched all of our lives. Rabbi Shoni lives on in her family, friends, community and all who were lucky enough to have known her, experienced her, even for the briefest moment. Rest In Peace our dear Rabbi Shoni. Our prayers, love and light are with the entire Labowitz family.
I lost a dear friend, really a member of my family, today. I loved Rabbi Shoni Labowitz, but I spent my day as she would have me spend my day: helping people, connecting with the Jewish community in Charleston, and enjoying life. She would have loved every part of it. I have called every day to check on Shoni for the past three weeks, and I’m terribly sad that she has departed from our world, but am happy she has some relief from a terrible chapter in her life. I love her and her whole family forever, and I’m forever here for them. All love. I can only hope to live better in her honor.
Rabbi Shoni Labowitz….. when I joined TAO some 13 years ago I had no sense of being Jewish. It was the compassion and the music that drew me in. Time went on. I volunteered. I got involved and TAO weaved its way into my heart and my soul, informing how I showed up as a person and as an empowered woman. I didn’t know what was lacking until I found it in this community; this place for people who never fit in anywhere else; this haven for those of us seekers unable to connect in this way ever before to a spirituality that speaks to the heart, soul and mind. While your teachings inspired and motivated, it was truly WHO YOU ARE that inspires me most. As a result of Temple Adath Or and its spiritual leadership, I now I identify as a Jew – something I never felt before. This community you birthed helped guide me to roots, to my identity; to my courage and my gifts. And I know I am not alone. You are in my heart always.
It was maybe the second time we went (to TAO services) when I noticed a tall, handsome older gentleman walk in with a woman whose energy made her seem as tall as he was. I’m the type of person to sit back and observe, and feel, and there was something about her…a light that seemed to radiate from her. It was both beautiful and intimidating. The first time I heard her speak…well, when she spoke, you listened. Her love for Judaism, her vast knowledge, it was unlike anything I had seen in person, and I was captivated. Little known secret, when I was 11 or 12, I wanted to be a Rabbi. As I was trying to find my own footing in a life that no longer seemed my own, I met this woman who embodied everything I had ever wanted to be. She was an artist, a writer, a mother, and a Rabbi. She has one of the most beautiful families I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Since I first met her, I wanted to study with Rabbi Shoni. I wanted to know everything she knows, she just seemed to know so much. And I don’t mean the same knowing that comes from text and study, I mean the type of knowing that comes from the soul. I was too afraid, I guess is the best word, to ever go up to her and say these things. While most people might think I’m an outgoing extrovert, they would be wrong. And it’s at this start of 5778 that I’ve finally come to realize how much of my life has been ruled by fear, especially the last 9 years or so. I’ve been living primarily in the shadows of my own life.
I want to be like Rabbi Shoni. I want to live my life in a way that light radiates from me to others. She is the shamash of this community and I’m willing to bet, her family. She walks with grace and dignity, and her strength presents as strength, not a “hardness” as my own does. For the better part of this past year, I’ve not woken with a passion or even thankfulness of life. I’ve often woken up and thought, “Ugh. I’m still here? Why?” And there have been times when I hoped to not wake up in the morning for reasons too long and involved to list here. I believe these are feelings and thoughts you have when you aren’t living your authentic life, when you can’t hear Hashem anymore. And then I heard Rabbi Shoni was sick, and my heart hurt. I don’t think anyone, least of all her, knows what an impact and inspiration her mere presence has been in my life. My steps, henceforth, are inspirited by all of who she is, and who I want to be, like her.