Last Motzai Shabbos, the 15th of Adar I, the women of Pittsburgh gathered for a meaningful tribute event dedicated to the life and legacy of Mrs. Keny Deren, obm at an event marking her Shloshim.
Mrs. Lieba Rudolph gave a beautiful introductory speech and transitioned smoothly between each speaker as the Master of Ceremonies.
Mrs. Blumi Rosenfeld gave a touching tribute speech about her mother, Mrs. Deren, which featured part of an address given by Mrs. Deren twenty five years ago at the first kinus commemorating the first yahrtzeit of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka. In that talk, Mrs. Deren spoke about hiskashrus to the Rebbe.
Mrs. Miriam Rosenblum spoke about Mrs. Deren as a friend, one who helped, advised, and guided her as needed since the day she moved to Pittsburgh as a young bride.
Mrs. Rochel Shlomo spoke about Mrs. Deren as a dear friend as well, and both she and Mrs. Rosenblum made the audience laugh at various moments throughout the stories they told about Mrs. Deren and her sense of humor, fun, sensitivity towards others, and how she always put a positive spin on every situation. For example, instead of rebuking a student who was normally well-behaved, but was once sent to the office, she split a bar of chocolate with the girl who then felt as though she was having a special little party with her principal.
Another time, while preparing for a community Shabbaton featuring guest speaker Rabbi Manis Friedman, his flight had been mistakenly made for the wrong weekend but without panicking, Mrs. Deren then smilingly dubbed the Shabbaton as the “Minus Manis” weekend.
Mrs. Elkie Zarchi spoke lovingly about her grandmother and how elegant, refined, and queen-like she was. Mrs. Bessie Garelik of Milan, Italy, (whose flight to Pittsburgh was cancelled), gave over personal stories and memories of her sister, particularly her connection to the Rebbe, via Skype.
A diverse crowd of women attended the event. But even the younger women who did not have the privilege to know Mrs. Deren almost felt as though they knew her quite well by the end of the evening, after each speaker captured Mrs. Deren as the remarkable and sincere person that she was.