Marjorie Menaker – Musha bar Shmuel ve-Rachel – 2019

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We’re here today to mourn the passing but also to honor and cherish the life of Marjorie Menaker, beloved wife to Michael, devoted mother of Barry and Jonathan and mother-in-law to Kelly, adoring grandmother of Gary and Matthew, caring nurse for countless patients, real part of the community, and a great friend.

Margie knew she was dying. With her medical background and her deep experience with physical decline and illness, she knew the score.

But let’s be honest: this is so terrible. This was a person who should have had another twenty years. This was a person who would have used all of that time and all of those years to continue her loving, purposeful, meaningful life with Michael and her family and being a doer in the community.

But this was not to be, and just as she faced reality with courage, we must face the reality of her passing with the courage to go on, as she wanted us to.

Margie was born on July 1, 1946 to her loving parents Samuel and Ruth Wolfson. She graduated from Northeastern University with a degree in Nursing. She was a Geriatric Nurse for more than forty years at several facilities including the Beacon Brook Health Center where she was the Assistant Director of Nurses. When I talked to her about her work, I was struck with how clear she was about what is really important in nursing and how clear she was about what her skills were and what she was born to do and the other things that she had no patience for because they were not the essence of her profession. We cannot count how many patients she cared for over four decades. For so many of those people, she became one of the most important people in their lives.

Margie was not just a joiner of organizations; she was someone who really worked and did and volunteered and contributed. She was a President or officer or important member of the Pioneer Valley Chapter of the Pomegranate Guild of Judaic Needlework and the Waterbury Chapter of Hadassah and the Beth El Synagogue of Waterbury and its Sisterhood among other organizations. She was the one who rolled up her sleeves and worked and then worked some more.

Think about it: considering what she did for a living, she had every right to go home and put her feet up and say: I have done things for others today, I can take it easy. But she put herself last. And she won the respect and the admiration of everyone who worked with her. Some of her best friends to this day are those who worked in kitchens with her and sat at meetings with her and helped build communities with her.

The family is going to talk about her in a minute, but I want to thank Margie for who she was for so many people. And I want all of us to think about what we do for others, and think about whether we are worthy of Margie’s memory. She was the real thing; she was a truly righteous human being and a good Jewish person. May she rest in peace. Let us say Amen.