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December 16, 2013 / Rabbi Laura

As I sit here in California…

As I sit here in California, dear friends Rabbis Phyllis and Michael Sommer mourn at their son’s funeral.

Today, the world is out of balance.  Today, they cry and we cry and God cries.

Parents grieve for the loss of their child at the tender age of 8.  A hard-fought battle against AML, acute myeloid leukemia, Superman Sam’s krypotnite.  1485042_10151797996426003_305129250_n

While colleagues in a small rabbinic circle, Phyllis and Michael and I have never worked together. We didn’t go to school, or camp or youth group together.  We have never even lived in the same cities.  But the power of relationships and social media has brought us together.  A few drinks together at a bar at a rabbinic convention.  Tweets back and forth. The sharing of blog posts.  These have led to the creation of a friendship that spans geographic distances.

In the last 18 months I have followed Sam’s battle against leukemia from afar.  I sent Sam superhero chatchkies to decorate his hospital room. I prayed.  In the few moments I have seen Phyllis IRL, we hugged and spoke of fears and hopes.  Each day I would awake looking first for news from their blog about how Sam was doing that day.

All along, I struggled with my inability to do something concrete.  I can’t send over a meal, or do some laundry, or help carpool the kids.  I felt impotent.

But now, I do have something I can do. Due to the inspiration of Rabbi Rebecca Einstein Schorr and Rabbi Elizabeth Wood, I have joined our #36Rabbis Shave for the Brave St. Baldrick’s event.  This coming March I will shave my hair off in an effort to raise awareness of and funds to battle against childhood cancers.

Each day 7 children die from cancer.  We lost Sam this past Saturday.   Today and tomorrow and the day after tomorrow and the day after that – each day –  7 more children will die.  I cannot imagine the pain. It is unfathomable. Unspeakable.

Today, again I feel impotent. Sitting here in California, unable to do something to ease the pain and the fear. Except – to write this blog post.  And pray that you will help me bring an end to this.

Kol ha-olam kulo, gesher tzar me’od. V’ha-ikar, lo le-fached klal.

All the world is a very narrow bridge. The most important thing is not to be afraid.

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