Rivky Berman was a courageous young lady who passed away on 22 Iyar 5776 – 30 May 2016.
Despite her tender age of just under 30 years old, during her lifetime, and manifold thereafter, she inspired thousands of people around the world with her passionate faith in Hashem, unquestioning belief in the power of positive thinking to elicit positive change, and a yearning desire to help others.
Three weeks ago, at the conclusion of Shiva, the Berman and Deren families gathered at the Montefiore Cemetery for the Hakomas Hamatzeiva for their beloved Rivky Berman (nee Deren).
Just moments later they gathered in the Ohel Chabad centre near the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s resting place, where they sat down with parchment and ink to begin the writing of “Rivky’s Torah.” Her husband Rabbi Shmulie Berman and father Rabbi Yisrael Deren wrote the first two letters of Bereishis, Beis and Reish – the acronym of her name, Rivky Berman…
“Rivky’s Torah” is a memorial project that includes the writing of this Sefer Torah that will be dedicated to her memory, as well as a permanent institution dedicated to perpetuating “Rivky’s Torah” – her teachings by example, her life’s passion, and her eternal message. https://RivkysTorah.com/.
The Sofer Rabbi Moshe Klein of Hasofer assisted the family members (including Rivky’s youngest nephew Zalman Backman seen in the picture) in holding the quill to dedicate letters in her memory. Once the funds have been raised, the scroll is being sent to Israel where it will be completed at the Otzar Hastam centre in Israel under the direction of her cousins Rabbi Chaim and Rivky Kaplan.
Tonight, the Shloshim of her passing, the family is launching a 72 hour campaign to complete the project.
Born into a family of Jewish leadership led by her parents Rabbi Yisrael and Vivi Deren, Rivky lived her entire life by Torah’s vision that “it is tree of life for those who hold it” and she brought everyone around her closer to Torah true values. This lifelong journey began as as a child in the home of her parents and their work as directors of Chabad of Stamford, and post-graduation from seminary where she joined the administration at Chabad, where Rivky always felt that she was here to serve a higher purpose.
With time this evolved into a far broader sense of purpose in serving other both for the physically and emotionally challenged souls of her fellow comrades in the war against debilitating illness, and in the spiritually challenged souls in the university Jewish student life around the Duke University Hospital in North Carolina. Rivky’s association with Duke Hospital started with her becoming a recipient of a lung transplant at their renowned transplant center where she soon became closely involved with the medical and university staff.
Following her 2012 marriage to Rabbi Shmulie Berman, that association evolved into a broader relationship with the student life at various universities in the area, in conjunction with the other Chabad Lubavitch Shluchim on Campus there.
In addition, Rivky was strongly involved in the work of Kids of Courage and Chai Lifeline where she used her own life story as a source of inspiration for others to live a “normal” life and appreciate the blessings of everything we have, even if it is not in the way we hoped or expected. A video posted by a Duke University student who was doing a video journalism project (see it at http://www.rivkyderen/tumblr.com) has been watched by hundreds of thousands of people around the world (including on Israeli Television) and has elicited unbelievable responses from viewers around the world, from “this woman has changed my life in those two minutes,” to “I’ve learnt more in two minutes, than I have in a lifetime.”
And Rivky continues to live on.
“RIVKY’S TORAH” is a memorial project that will include the writing of a Sefer Torah that will be dedicated to her memory, as well as a permanent institution dedicated to perpetuating “Rivky’s Torah” – her teachings, her life, and her eternal message.
We invite you to join this great hero of Israel in her lifelong – and beyond – mission to plant Torah as a “tree of life” in the hearts and souls of everyone around her, especially those who need it most.
The completion of the Torah will be held in proximity of her Yarzeit and during the year ahead, the initiatives of “Rivky’s Torah” will be launched and made available to the public.
Our goal is to raise the full target in the 72 hours campaign of $72,000 being launched at the conclusion of the 30 day period of Shloshim on Tuesday 22 Sivan 5776, 28 June 2016. Thereafter we will begin the next stage in the development of Rivky’s Torah – a Scroll, and a Vision.
This project was initiated by Rivky’s devoted husband, Rabbi Shmulie and her parents Rabbi Yisrael and Vivi Deren. The project is being managed by Rabbi Yossi Deren of Chabad of Greenwich and all of the funds raised will be directed strictly to the “Rivky’s Torah” Project under the direction of Chabad of Connecticut and Western Massachusetts where her scroll, and her vision will continue to nurture the lives of others.