The yeshiva mourns the tragic death of our alumnus Marc '93 Weinberg z"l. Our condolences to his wife Natalie, daughters Yonah and Ma'ayan, parents Syma and Henry, and sister and brother-in-law Debra and Rabbi Aviad Tabory.


Shiva until Wednesday morning at the family house: Yael HaGibora 12, Modi'in. 08:00 Shacharit; 19:30 – Mincha and Arvit.


HaMakom yenachem etkhem be-tokh she'ar avelei Tzion veYerushalayim.


Recordings of hespedim given by Marc's brother in law, Rav Aviad Tabory, Rosh HaYeshiva Harav Mosheh Lichtenstein, Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks, Modiin Rabbi Rav David Lau, and Marc's wife Natalie


Reprinted from Office of the Chief Rabbi, Marc Weinberg z"l, Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks, July 1, 2010

Hashem Natan, Hashem Lekach, yehi shem Hashem mevorach. There are times when we have said all that can be said, when we have accepted in faith all that we can accept in faith, and yet we are left with a raw cry of pain.

Ribono shel olam did it have to be like this?

So young a man, so long a struggle, so short a life.

And we are left holding on, as it were, to Hashem’s hand unable to stem the flood of tears.

Marc was a neshama tahora, such a pure soul. He loved Torah, he lived Torah, Torah was the very air he breathed.

He loved people. He understood the meaning of vayar ki tov. He saw the good in people and brought out the best in people.

He loved Eretz Yisrael.  For him, his and Natalie’s Aliyah was something utterly ruchnit, spiritual not just physical. He would look out of the windows of his house and say, even in those last weeks,  esa enay el harim m’ayin yavo ezrim.

He was such a loving son to Syma and Henry, such a loving husband to Natalie and such a loving father to Yona and Ma’ayan.  He gave and he received so much love and that was the very texture of his life.

Whatever he did he was a leader.  Whether in Jewish student life in Britain or as mazkir to Bnei Akiva or as one of the inspirations of the revival of the London School of Jewish Studies, whether as a founder of the first dati zioni minyan in London, Alei Tzion, whether as the leader of a group of British olim or as leader of the project that occupied his last years and now will surely be his living memorial a new bet Knesset here in Modiin. Whatever Marc did, he led.

Vayifen ko vakho vayzar ki ein ish. If he saw something was lacking or something was wrong he would not complain. He would not wait for others to act. He would say, Let me be among the first to put things right, and he brought others with him. They were inspired by his vision, his faith, his moral courage, his passion and compassion. They were drawn to him and he drew out the best in them.   He made you feel the world could be a better place.

And when two and a half years ago this devastating illness struck, he fought long and hard beyond all normal limits of courage and strength until finally for all his resilience of spirit, his body could hold out no longer.

It was a terrible struggle not just for Marc, but those who loved him and were so close to him. For Natalie , Yona and Ma’ayan, for Syma and Henry, and for Yudit and Jonny and the Weil family, Syma’s mother Hettie, and Henry’s mother Sadie, and his very very wide circle of friends here in Israel and in Britain – there were thousands, thousands who kept in touch.  I never knew somebody who had so many admirers and friends and they include our own children, who were utterly devastated by the news.

The truth is that wherever he went in his life he created an ever widening circle of influence. He was one of those people not only good in themselves, but a source of goodness in others. They followed Marc’s illness day by day   They davened for him every single day. And they like us are today bereaved and bereft.

Yet in all of this there is a strange kind of comfort. It is signalled in a strange passage in B’haalotcha. The people are complaining as usual, and for once in his life Moshe Rabbenu lacks the strength to carry on. It is a  crisis in his life like no other.

And Hakodesh Boruch Hu says, Gather 70 elders ve-atzalti min haruach asher alecha vesamti alehem, "and I will take of the spirit which is on you and will place it on them."  This is a very odd thing. What were the 70 elders supposed to do?  Moshe Rabbenu had other leaders and an established system of delegation in place. The 70 elders they could not help him out of the specific crisis of finding meat for the people in the midst of the midbar. In fact we don’t find they did anything at all.

Yet that moment marked a change in Moshe Rabbenu’s life.  From a man who was suffering breakdown and spiritual crisis, immediately thereafter, when he faces a new crisis -- Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp and Joshua says, "My master, Moses, shut them up", Moshe says, "Are you anxious on my behalf? Would that all God's people were prophets."

When his own brother and sister turned against him, the text says "Now the man Moses was very humble, more so than any man on earth." He faces both crises with calm and generosity of spirit. We see, in short, a man transformed from agonising spiritual crisis to peace of mind and serenity. Something had happened to change Moshe Rabbenu’s life and the lives of those around him. What was it?

I believe it was the simple fact that ve-atzalti min haruach asher alekha. It was that Moshe Rabbenu was given a glimpse -- and it is very rare for anyone to be given such a glimpse -- of the influence he had on those around him.  He saw how his spirit rested on them, he saw how they were able to see through his eyes, hear through his ears, be lifted to the heights by his spirit. That was enough. And though he never ceased to struggle, thereafter he could live content, knowing that others were different because of him. Perhaps that is as much of a reward as any of us have this side of heaven.

In the last years of his life Marc was given that rare gift. He saw, he heard, he knew, he felt, just how many hundreds and thousands of people were different because of him. And though he never ceased to struggle,  somehow at the deepest level of his spirit he was able to live content and die content.

Hashem natan, Hashem lakach, yehi shem Hashem mevorach. God lent us Marc for all too short a time, but in that time he lived a life of such vision and responsibility that it became indelible.

He received and gave so much love to Natalie and his children, to Syma and Henry, and Debra and Aviad and everyone around him that we know in our bones that kasheh kamavet ahavah, or as the poet Dylan Thomas paraphrased those words:

Though lovers are lost

Love is not

And death shall have no dominion

And now Hakodesh Boruch Hu is holding Marc in his zero'ot olam, His everlasting arms, ve-atzalti min haruach, and He has left us with his spirit and his memory and those we will never lose and never cease to thank God for, even in the midst of our tears and our grief.

May Hashem comfort his beloved family and friends.

May He give strength to Natalie.

May He bless and look after Yona and Ma’ayan and be with them every inch of the way.

May Marc live on in them and in us, and may his soul be bound in the bonds of everlasting life.

Tehi nishmato tserurah bitsror hachayim.

Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks

1 July 2010 – 19 Tammuz 5770


Credo: July 2010

Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks

First appeared in The Times, July 16, 2010

The good that we do continues long after our death

It was a devastating tragedy. A young man, brilliant, gifted, with a devoted wife and two beautiful young children, was diagnosed with leukaemia.  For two and a half years, helped by advanced medical technology and lifted by the prayers of friends, he fought with all his strength against the civil war taking place within his body.  In the end it was all too much, and two weeks ago he died.

If any of us had been so minded, here was a supreme trial of faith.  This was no ordinary young man.  He was a person of the most profound religious belief and practice, who spent every spare moment of his crowded, short life helping others and bringing out the best in them, who by the sheer force of his example became a leader who transformed lives, whether as a youth leader, a student, a teacher or as a builder of communities.  He taught people the power of possibility and helped them become better than they thought they were.

“Is this the religious life, and this its reward?” asked the rabbis.  “Shall the judge of all the earth not do justice?” asked Abraham.  There are moments that can shake your faith to its foundations.  Yet, as I stood at his funeral, this was not the feeling that swept over me.  Instead I felt a strange, quite unexpected access of faith.

For around me, gathered at seemingly impossible short notice -- in Judaism we try never to delay a funeral – were more than a thousand mourners, many of them his age or younger.  Through their tears I saw the difference he had made to their lives.  He wasn't rich or famous. He had lived all too briefly.  Yet each of them had a story to tell of how he had helped them, inspired them, befriended them when they were lonely, lifted them when they were suffering some personal crisis; and each of those blessings had given rise to others in turn, in a series of ever-widening ripples of good.

There is a film, Pay It Forward, in which the hero, a young schoolboy, is set a thought-provoking assignment by his social science teacher. “Come up with a practical plan to change the world and improve humankind.”  Moved by the plight of people he sees in difficulties -- a homeless man, his alcoholic mother, his badly scarred teacher -- he suddenly envisages a way.  Normally, kindnesses are reciprocated. They are “paid back.”  What if they were paid forward?  What if we made it a condition of doing someone some good, that they agreed to do good to someone else in need?  Could you not make a virtue contagious, creating an epidemiology of generosity?

The film ends on a note of tragedy but also of immense hope.  Despite what seemed to be a series of failures, the child does succeed in changing lives in ways no one could have foreseen.  That is what I felt among the crowd of mourners at the funeral that day. We had come to honour the memory of one who, without ever saying so, taught people to pay it forward, and he had left behind him a vast legacy of blessings. And yes, he had died young and left a tidal wave of grief.  But he had also taught us how never to let grief, or suffering, or sadness have the last word.  Before he died, he taught us how to live.

God, bound by the very laws of nature with which He created the universe, and without which neither it nor us would exist, cannot render us immune to the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to. But God can and does change the world by changing us, especially those rare and blessed people who become transmitters of His presence.

We wept that day.  I believe God wept too.  Shmuel Yosef Agnon, the Nobel prize winning writer, once speculated that Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the dead, speaks not about human death but about Divine life, as if it were our way of offering comfort to God for the loss of one of His children. Mortality is written into the human condition, but so too is the possibility of immortality, in the good we do that continues, long after we are here, to beget further good. There are lives that defeat death and redeem existence from tragedy. We knew, that day, that we had known one of them.


Reprinted from Sun, July 04, 2010 Tammuz 22, 5770

marc_weinberg_zlMarc Weinberg, a 35-year-old immigrant from Britain who influenced many families to immigrate to Israel, was laid to rest in Modi'in on Thursday. His impact was evident in the appearance of Britain's chief rabbi, Lord Jonathan Sacks, who flew in from London to eulogize the former head of the British Bnei Akiva movement, Jewish educator, businessman and activist. Weinberg was married with two girls.

Sacks said that those around Weinberg "were inspired by his faith, his moral courage, his passion and his compassion. They were drawn to him, and he drew out the best in them."

Around a thousand people gathered to bid farewell to Weinberg, who died early Thursday of complications following a bone-marrow transplant after battling leukemia since October 2007. A driver for the Jewish burial society of Modi'in, where Weinberg had lived since immigrating in 2006, said it was the largest crowd he had ever seen at a funeral in the city.

"It was scheduled for five but it didn't actually start until a quarter to six because the stream of people just never ended," said Phil Schajer of Modi'in, formerly of London. Schajer knew Weinberg since they were 10.

"The chief rabbi wasn't the only one who flew in for Marc," said James Franks, another longtime friend of Weinberg. "So many people came here from England, even after the funeral, to console the family and express their sympathies. Even now, at the shiva, people keep on streaming into the house, the phones don't stop ringing, the messages don't stop coming," he said Friday morning.

Weinberg had countless friends in Britain. A Facebook group founded when he was first diagnosed with leukemia has more than 1,100 members. Immediately after he died, the site was flooded with condolences, many recalling his charismatic leadership of the many educational projects he was involved in.

As the head of Bnei Akiva in Britain, Weinberg oversaw 40 national branches with thousands of members. He was also instrumental in revitalizing the London School of Jewish Studies and created in London a new Modern Orthodox congregation, Alei Tzion, in 2004.

Two years later, as Weinberg was planning his move to Israel, he made sure to bring along some friends. "I am here as a direct result of Marc," Schajer recalled Friday. "He brought in a real estate director from Modi'in. We sat together with some families from Alei Tzion, and I can name half a dozen families that now live in Modi'in because of that meeting. We're all here because of him."

Although a businessman by profession - he finished near the top of his MBA class at Cambridge - Weinberg always considered Jewish education his main priority, Franks said. "He worked only to have enough influence and money to be able to invest in what he really cared about: education."

From the moment Weinberg arrived in Modi'in, he became involved in various projects. "He immediately started talking to people about plans to change the education system in the city, about having a different outlook that would make education more appealing and could bring students closer to Judaism," Franks said.

Rivka Klein, a close family friend, told Haaretz: "He was a very sharp person. He was also the kind of person who put his money where his mouth was. Whenever he saw things needed to be changed, he was the first one to get up and do something about it."

On his blog "On the Contrary," Baltimore native Elli Fischer recalled how Weinberg changed his life with one question. "As we strolled down his street, he asked me, quite pointedly and mildly pedantically, after hearing about my seminary job: "'Rabbi Fischer, is this what you see yourself doing in 10 years?' He rendered me speechless as I realized for the first time that the answer was no."

Inspired by the ensuing conversation, Fischer decided to change his career from education to writing and translation, writes Fischer. "Marc was a meticulous planner whose outlook emphasized pragmatic financial concerns while ensuring that such matters do not come at the expense of what was truly meaningful in life - for him, family and friends, learning and teaching. I'm not sure he realized how much his advice and encouragement meant."

On another blog - Nusach Freak - a longtime friend remembered how Weinberg and his wife Natalie insisted on having his family over for dinner on the first night they arrived in Modi'in.

After offering juice to his guests' children, Weinberg explained to his own daughter Yona, then about 3, "that part of hachnasat orchim [hospitality] is offering your guests food and drink even before taking for yourself," the anonymous blogger wrote. "For me, Marc's simple statement to Yona was representative of a key part of Marc's persona - a complete dedication to Jewish education and making every opportunity an educational one."

At the funeral, Natalie read from a journal entry he wrote in March 2009, which she said Friday was the message he wanted to convey to others: "Perhaps the journey of searching for our dreams is more important than the result. The most important thing is we should never give up on dreaming." Marc Weinberg is survived by his wife, his daughters Yona and Maayan, his parents Henry and Syma and his sister Debra Weinberg Tabory.


marc-weinberg-zlThe Jewish Cronicle Online - Ex-Bnei Akiva chief, 35, dies of leukaemia, by Jessica Elgot, July 2, 2010

On the Contrary: A Tribute to Marc Weinberg, by Rabbi Elli Fischer, July 1, 2010

Nusach Freak: Baruch Dayan Emet, July 1, 2010

Thinking Israel: Words of Tribute, by Rabbi Alex Israel, July 5, 2010