Anyone with the name of Genendel Liba is related to me. That woman was quite a trooper. Lost a couple of husbands and kept remarrying. Had more last names than I can keep track of — I know of the Hammer and Elbogen ones and I don’t know about the others. Had a whole tribe of kids and raised some stepkids alongside them. Supported herself as a midwife. And was the mother of my great-grandmother who was seen as the unifying child in the family, related to step-sibs on both sides.
On slow days, when my siblings fish for a story to tell their children about amazing ancestors, Genenda Leeba is a fine choice to discuss. My nieces, at one point, were very fascinated with her, because a cousin had tracked down some far-flung cousins just by the unusual name combination.
Then they went to play in the park and met a little girl named, you guessed it, Genendel Liba. My niece turned white and turned to her mother and said, “wow, so she was like the Eemahos, like one of our ancestors, because so many people come from her. She has thousands of children!” It was the first time that my niece grasped that one woman can spawn forth hundreds and thousands of committed Jews, can set up generations of Jewish descendants who proudly call themselves by her name and live by her values.
Now if only we adults grasped this fully. One of us, all of us, living right, not shirking from the hard days, going through with living life fully, can set up thousands of years of offspring who bring credit to our Creator.