Marcie Kleber Alter
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Marcie Kleber Alter

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ALTER: Marcie Kleber Alter, 52, of Jerusalem, formerly of Pittsburgh, on April 17, 2018. Daughter of the late Tema Alter and the late Arthur Alter. Loving mother of Ben Alter and his wife, Belle; grandmother of Adir Shaked and Oziel Sagiv of Neve Daniel, Israel. Also survived by her brother Howard Alter and his wife Jamie of Fairfax, Va., and nephew, Ben Alter, of Annandale-On-Hudson, N.Y. She attended Winchester Thurston School and the University of Pittsburgh. Marcie made aliyah in 2003 and lived on a kibbutz. Approximately three years later, she went to the doctor with numbness in a leg. She was diagnosed with a cavernous angioma, essentially, bleeding in the brain. She had two brain surgeries, which were only partially successful. An additional two surgeries stopped the bleeding but left her 99 percent paralyzed, unable to speak and on a feeding tube. Yet, despite the physical limitations, her higher brain functions were completely intact. Her memories, creativity and ability to process new information were unaffected. But her mind was trapped inside a body unable to communicate. Staff and visitors would point to an alphabet on the wall to spell out words and communicate with her. Eventually, she was fitted with a computer that responded to eye movements. This opened up the world to her, enabling her to email and communicate with friends and family, as well as utilize the internet. Despite having a feeding tube, a tracheotomy, and being unable to speak, she co-authored a Kindle book in 2014 called “Chanukah Highlights” (“My Favorite Food is Birthday Cake Book 1”). In a truly humble manner with a keen sense of humor, she was quoted as saying that the book was “written by someone who had not had a meal in close to eight years.” Despite declining health, Marcie’s mother made the trip to Israel twice to visit, and her brother, Howard, made numerous visits, as did other family and friends from Pittsburgh. Marcie’s condition did not deter her from attending the wedding of her son, Ben, in 2013 and the berit milah of a grandson. Marcie was buoyed by a wonderful support system with numerous friends who spent time with her, ensured someone was with her during Shabbat, and arranged and accompanied her on regular visits to the Western Wall. Her many, many friends conducted Torah study in her room, and so many people integrated her into their lives and their families. She lived at St. Louis French Hospital in Jerusalem for nearly 12 years and was cared for by a wonderful and loving group of doctors, nurses and staff. A rabbi who visited regularly said it was Marcie’s visitors that gained the most from the visits by watching her strength, sense of humor, and will to live come through despite all the obstacles. In the months before her passing, her brain showed signs of recovery as she began to regain feeling in her arms and legs and was able to take a step or two with help and was able to use her hands to wheel herself in the wheelchair. Marcie was buried on April 17, 2018, in a cemetery on a hill overlooking the Old City in Jerusalem. A service of Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc. schugar.com

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