Rivky Berman, a young Chabad-Lubavitch emissary who inspired many throughout her lifelong struggle with illness passed away yesterday at the Duke University Hospital in Durham, N.C. She was 29.
Born in Stamford, Conn, to Rabbi Yisrael and Vivi Deren, Rivky Deren grew up in an atmosphere where serving G‑d with joy and sharing Judaism with others was paramount—even when things were not easy.
Rivky was one of several siblings who were born with Blooms Syndrome. In addition to affecting her growth, the condition caused Rivky to be prone to many illnesses.
Nevertheless, throughout her life Berman maintained a spunky, upbeat attitude and a unique ability to share the hope and joy that defined her life with others, and she did so in blog posts, personal counseling and in every venue available to her.
Reflecting in a video posted to her blog on the medical hurdles she had faced, she maintained, “I dealt with it, I am here, and I have an incredible life . . . I don’t see those things as issues. I see them as challenges. Those are challenges that G‑d gave me—and anyone else that has that challenge—because He truly believes that I can take that challenge and I will fulfill that challenge . . . I was given something that only I was given because G‑d thought that I can handle it.”…
After a successful lung transplant, she married Rabbi Shmulie Berman in the summer of 2012, and the young couple looked forward to establishing themselves as Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries, something her family had devoted themselves to since great-grandparents, Rabbi Sholom and Chaya Posner moved to Pittsburgh in the mid 1940’s to head the Chabad educational system in that city…
In 2015, she was found to have lymphoma and was once again admitted to the hospital. Even from her hospital room, she continued to reach out, organize, and serve—orchestrating an entire Purim celebration from the confines of her bed.
In a speech she once joked that “You know you are in the ER way to often when you walk in and the nurses all scream, ‘Hey Deren! What’s up?’”
Yet, despite her frequent challenges, she said that “my family and I have gone through many difficult times. The teaching of ‘tracht gut vet, zein gut’ [think good, and it will be good] almost became a refrain in our lives…
“Sometimes this is on a simple level: starting your day with the attitude that it will be a good day can actually make that a reality. On a deeper level, we are taught that having this kind of bitachon, trust and confidence in Hashem, can actually help create the space for the good to happen. And that even in situations where it is difficult for human beings with our limitations to see good, that we can still find even small sparks of sunshine, because we are confident that even if not right now, ultimately Hashem will show us the good so we can see it with our own eyes. Maybe another way of saying this is that ‘Everything ends up okay in the end, and if it’s not okay, it’s not the end.’”…
In writing to his friends and congregants about his sister’s passing, Rabbi Asher Deren noted that “in a lifetime that some would describe as pain and illness, Rivky fought back to live a life of joy, celebration, adventure, ambition, fashion, and more than anything - purpose.”
He noted how his sister’s “smile, determination and fierce independence set a new standard of living, for all of us,” and that “the signature of Rivky’s email (and closing line of her Matric Valedictory Speech) was ‘in the end it will all be good, and if it’s not good, it’s not the end.’..
In addition to her parents and husband, Rivky Berman is survived by her siblings, Rabbi Yossi Deren, Rabbi Asher Deren, Rabbi Chezky Deren and Chanie Backman. She was predeceased by her siblings Shlomo Aharon Deren, Blumi Deren, and Rabbi Mendel Deren.
See video on link
Courtesy of my daughter