Obituary for Rachel McKible, former Israeli Military Sergeant


We mourn the loss of Rachel, who passed away at Vassar Brothers Medical Center on January 15, 2021.

Rachel was born in Israel to Moshe and Esther Shwartzman on May 2, 1933.

In Israel, Rachel served as a sergeant in the Israeli military, teaching her fellow soldiers biblical history. After graduating from teaching college, Rachel came to the United States, expecting to visit for just one year. During her stay, she met Joel McKible—ironically enough at a Christmas party—who knew immediately that she was the love of his life.

Rachel decided to stay in the U.S. and marry Joel. They moved to Newburgh, where she quickly became an active and beloved member of the community and a proud American citizen. In a career that spanned decades, Rachel taught generations of Hudson Valley students Hebrew and religious studies. She was proud of the fact that one of her last students was the grandchild of a student she had taught at the beginning of her career.

Rachel McKible

In 1985, Rachel joined Joel to run Mid-Hudson Beauty and Nail Supply, the business Joel established in 1959 with his brother and sister-in-law, Fred and Renee McKible. Having boundless energy, she was also a member of both the local chapter of Hadassah and the Cornwall Garden Club, serving as president of both organizations.

Rachel loved her family and friends, and she delighted in welcoming people to her home. She and Joel would host New Year’s Eve celebrations, dinner parties, Seders, and Thanksgivings. Her door was open to anyone who needed a friend or a seat at the table. For many years, she hosted West Point cadets who could not go home for the Jewish holidays. Before any meal would start, she would insist we all say, “it’s so nice to be together.” The idea of being together to share meals and smiles was central to who Rachel was.

Rachel enjoyed a vibrant social life. She loved attending concerts, plays, movies, and performances of all kinds, and she went on many vacations and tours with family and friends. She always wanted to engage her mind and her imagination, and she wanted to share those experiences with others. Rachel had a wide and wonderful circle of friends; she cherished her old friends dearly and welcomed new people with her characteristic warmth. She was always ready to exchange a few cheerful words with anyone she met.

Rachel had a wonderful sense of humor and loved to laugh. To give her one last chuckle, we’ll end with one of her favorite phrases, which—with the Israeli accent she never entirely lost—came out as “dot’s dot!” Mom, you will be missed.

She is pre-deceased by her beloved husband of fifty years, Joel, who passed away in 2011. She is survived by her son Adam, his wife Julie, and their children, Elijah and Oscar; her son Joshua, his wife Miyuki, and their children, Nico and Ike. She is also survived by her cousins William and Ina Marlieb and by her nieces and nephews: Gary, Ronda, Donna, Mark, Sue, Dan, Jane, Sam, Amanda, Jordan, Jameson, Matt, Yoram, and Carmella. In Israel, she is survived by her sisters, Shoshana Itzhaki and her children, Iris Harel and Itzhak Itzhaki; by Yael Aran and her children, Rakefet Samish and Asaf Aran; by her cousins Henya and Areiela. She is also survived by many great-nephews and great-nieces. She is pre-deceased by her brother, Zvika Shwartzman.

Donations may be made to Temple Beth Jacob, 290 North St., Newburgh, NY 12550 or to Hadassah Attn: Donor Services, PO Box 1100, New York, NY 10268-1100.

A graveside service will be held at 12:00 pm on Thursday, January 21 at Cedar Hill Cemetery, Newburgh.

Shiva will be held via zoom at 6 pm on Thursday, 11:30 am on Sunday, and 6 pm on Monday. The zoom link is:

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