Marilyn Berger, z'l.

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Marilyn Berger, z'l


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Baruch Dayan HaEmet
Our beloved Marilyn,

Baruch Dayan HaEmet, Blessed is the True Judge
Dear Michael, sons, and Chevre,
To all of us in Sarah's Tent, and Malibu JC&S, and Lev Eisha, and Makom Ohr Shalom, and B'nai Horin... and especially to dear Mike, Mark, Matt--the 4 MBs-- our dearest one--MARILYN, now is on her way to Heaven embraced without veils by the holy Shechinah, welcoming her sweetest soul; her trials and challenges finished.
Dearest Marilyn, from the time that she entered Sarah's Tent, and with Mike, regularly hosted our chevre with most gracious hospitality, as did our biblical ancestors in their tents.  Marilyn has been a free flowing well of joy, a direct link from the Divine One to her open heart which reached her hands, her actions, her tzedakah and mitzvot / her good deeds, her mind to her Torah chanting and teaching reaching out to greater community. Marilyn lived consciously our Four Worlds to the Tree of Life. Marilyn has been a Tree of Life, nourishing us all in body and soul. Marilyn's bountiful spiritual life in our community has been compressed into her 65 years of giving CHESED / loving kindness,  just as her and Michael's e-mails attests to: CHESEDM. Marilyn has served us for years, connecting us all using that name and address.
When I think of all my calls and notes to Marilyn, and saying, "I love you," I hear back her voice,"I love you, too," which we all must know and feel so deeply in our hearts.  I loved how she knew and immediately answered her phone greeting me, "Hello, Joy".  Marilyn always stayed in touch with me in my time of need. I am so grateful for the recent invitations that Marilyn extended to me, even when she was not well, knowing that I may be alone.
Our beloved sister, Marilyn Berger, now known after death as Miriam bat Avraham, died last night, January 21, 2008 22 Shevat 5768, after her few years-long courageous battle with cancer.  With Torahs open, we prayed for her healing. Marilyn exemplified in this week's Torah Parashat Mishpatim, verse, "Na'aseh VeNishmah" / We will act and we will listen, Exodus 24:7.  Marilyn acted and was a foundation since its inception for our Sarah's Tent community. Maybe she and our beloved matriarch, Savina, z'l will open up their own Heavenly tent. Can you see the royal party that they will throw !!
Marilyn baked in abundance, honey cakes and challah for all with her holy hands and Torah wisdom directly connected to the Divine One. This week's verse, Exodus 23:9, speaks of Marilyn, "You know the feelings of a stranger..."  Strangers to Sarah's Tent who did not even know Marilyn, when greeted and welcomed in her presence were surprised to be the recipients of her gifts, grateful for the whole honey cake given, they said. Marilyn even mailed honey cakes to us to make sure we would receive her loving gifts, her blessings, perfect for beginning the new year, Rosh HaShanah.  I can taste your moist, delicious, sweet brown honey cake, dear Marilyn.  Oh, how I missed your cake this year, but we had you present with us and with Rabbi Judith on the beach at Tashlich. At the ocean shore, I see Mike's arm around you.
I can see and smell the flowers you sent to me for joyous occasions and when I was needy during caregiver years. And all your warm, caring phone calls.  I can see you giving wedding blesSings to my daughter. I can see you lighting Chanukah candles in your home with Sarah's Tent.  That is easy to see as I have so many photos of you celebrating life to the fullest, from your outer colorful garments to your inner deep creative soul. Oh, how I loved our classes together in Midrash, Sacred Stories, and Beggars, and being at our Kallah retreats. We had fun and we sang and danced. You / we all have come a long way...  And now you have a new, Lech Lecha, a new journey.
Like Reb Zuscha imagined at the Holy Gates for himself, Marilyn can't be asked, "Why weren't you like another, but as Marilyn?," because Marilyn's essence warmly poured from her directly into our hearts, just like her ingredients for her Challah and honey cake poured into their sacred wholeness, like Manna from Heaven. Marilyn gave us all a taste of heavenly sweetness. Maybe, Marilyn, you'll uncover some new flavors in Heaven, or create them, and send them all down; Maybe some new M&M colors. With gratitude I/we, part of your 'family', have received your goodness. G*d must be pleased. Is this what 'Kabbalah' is that we experienced with chevre?
Dear Marilyn, for over a dozen years, you always brought your own joyous timbrel to synagogues and Sarah's Tent events and simchas until your pain and weakness kept you away.  You have always been prepared, like biblical sister Miriam, as you are Miriam bat Tzipora, prepared with Torah and timbrel in hand to celebrate Shabbats and holy occasions with your sisters and brothers. You model for us a presence of all Hashem's Sephirot: wisdom, understanding, loving-kindness, strength, beauty, harmony, compassion, endurance, humility, splendor, connection and royalty. You showed us humor, serenity, equanimity, caring, courage and hope in all your days of joy and sorrow which we have witnessed.
May your journey to Shamayim, and your neshamah's new birthday in Heaven, be as swiftly rising and sweet as the bread that you baked, hand created, Ba'al Challah / master-mistress of challah, birthing for us all, in partnership with the Creator. I love you, Marilyn.
With hearts broken open and filled with tears, may we be blessed for the Compassionate One to enter and allow our tears of sadness to be transformed to joy, as we with love remember and cherish all that our dear Marilyn has given to us with her deep compassionate, gracious, generous and beautiful soul always filled with a shefa of loving-kindness as she clearly in Light reflected in our Tent, emulating the image of the Holy One.  The Light of the Giver of Life is the human soul." / "Ner Hashem, Nishmat Ha Adam."
May Marilyn's soul be bound in the bond of eternal life.  May Marilyn's neshamah soar and have an easy, sweet and high aliyah, like her kneaded dough, ascending and expanding to a very high place awaiting her in Shamayim / heaven and G*d's Greatness.  May bestowed merit and nachas and joy continue to surround dear Marilyn on her journey to Shamayim. May she bless us all with the Shechinah's beneficence -- Her goodness and grace.
Exulted and compassionate G*d, Marilyn has surrendered her soul to you, to your loving embrace. Grant Marilyn an infinite rest in Your sheltering Presence among the holy and the pure. May she rest in peace as sweet as her honey cakes. Amayn
May Hashem comfort us all among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.
Hamakom y'nachem etkhem b'tokh sh'ar avelei Tziyon v'Yerushalayim.
May Hashem give to Marilyn's family and friends the strength to endure our sorrow and loss
Death is not the end of one's existence or relationship with loved ones, but the portal to a higher, far more spiritual, eternal reality. Reb Zalman teaches us that in both directions, we can continue to send and receive love, compassion, forgiveness and gratitude.
Chevre, today, 22 Shevat is the 20th yahrzeit of the righteous woman, Rebbetzin Chayah Mushka Schneerson, z'l, the wife of the last Lubavitcher Rebbe, z'l. May she guide our dearest righteous Marilyn on her journey. In Marilyn's memory, I add this link to Rebbetzin Chayah Mushka, and of women's spiritual writings, where you, too, may submit your story.
As frozen as I was last night in the saddest news, appreciation of the abundance of Marilyn's love of life has endowed me today with an abundance of words and feelings. I send my love and my deepest condolences to Mike and the boys, and to Marilyn's dear siblings.
In sympathy,

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