Prompted by the death of a colleague’s son, more than 50 rabbis shaved their heads Tuesday (April 1) to raise money for pediatric cancer research. Photo courtesy of Central Conference of American Rabbis Annual Convention

Prompted by the death of a colleague’s son, more than 50 rabbis shaved their heads Tuesday (April 1) to raise money for pediatric cancer research. Photo courtesy of Central Conference of American Rabbis Annual Convention


This image is available for Web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

(RNS) Prompted by the death of a colleague’s son, more than 50 rabbis shaved their heads Tuesday (April 1) to raise money for pediatric cancer research.

The “Shave for the Brave” event, which has so far raised $550,000 of the rabbis’ $613,000 goal, took place in Chicago at the 125th annual convention of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, a gathering of Reform rabbis.

Rabbi Rebecca Einstein Schorr of Pennsylvania came up with the idea after 8-year-old Sam Sommer, the son of her colleague Rabbi Phyllis Sommer, was hospitalized in October due to complications from advanced leukemia.

When Sam died two months later, the event morphed from an act of solidarity with Sam and his family to a memorial.

Tuesday’s Shave-a-thon is one of many such events that support St. Baldrick’s Foundation, an organization that raises money for childhood cancer research, which receives relatively little of the money earmarked for cancer research overall.

Rabbi Eric Siroka, a rabbi at Temple Beth El in South Bend, Ind., said he was inspired by “the brave way Sam Sommer faced his cancer. I know it is my responsibility to help raise funds for research and treatment; more so, I am honored that we have clearly elevated the awareness of how important it is to increase the efforts to fight childhood disease.”

Rabbi Phyllis Sommer, right, receives a hug during the “Shave for the Brave” event on Tuesday (April 1) to raise money for pediatric cancer research. Sommer's 8-year-old son, Sam, was hospitalized in October due to complications from advanced leukemia. Photo courtesy of Rabbi Phyllis Sommer

Rabbi Phyllis Sommer, right, receives a hug during the “Shave for the Brave” event on Tuesday (April 1) to raise money for pediatric cancer research. Sommer’s 8-year-old son, Sam, died of leukemia. Photo courtesy of Rabbi Phyllis Sommer


This image is available for Web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

Phyllis Sommer, who has chronicled her son’s illness and her family’s struggle after his death in the blog Superman Sam, said the event resonates deeply with the rabbis’ Jewish values:

“Judaism teaches us that we must not be silent in the face of injustice, and that we are obligated to speak out and make a difference. When confronted with the inequality of funding for childhood cancer research, we are standing up to do something. Helping those in need is an important tenet of Jewish teaching.”

Although “nothing can bring back Sam, as much as we wish it could,” Sommer said, “knowing that we have the love of so many friends has brought us incredible comfort. As I stumble and fall through this grieving process, they are the people on whose shoulders I lean.”

YS/AMB END CHABIN

7 Comments

  1. Graciously and thankfully, Yahweh’s kingdom or heavenly government (Daniel 2:44) will soon put an end to all human sickness and disease through the rule of his son, Yeshua, with grand blessings to people of all nations (Isaiah 11:1-10), including an end to old age and death (Revelation 21:1-4) and even wickedness (Psalms 37:10,11).

    • You can be happy for the rabbis for performing a mitzvah (a good act) in the spirit of charity cultivated by Judaism (tzedakah] without bringing Yeshua into it thank you.

      Christians like to take credit for EVERYTHING. :)

      • What Yahweh and Yeshua have promised mankind according to God’s word, the Bible, will take place, whether we believe it or not. All credit and praise will rightfully go to them. “So my word that goes out of my mouth will go out. It will not return to me without results. But it will certainly accomplish whatever is my delight, and it will have sure success in what I send it to do.” (Isaiah 55:11)

        • If a group of priests donate to charity, would you think its polite to talk about Mohammed and how Christianity follows in the path he created?

          Of course not. Its disrespectful to the religion of the priests. By bringing in Jesus (Yeshua) into a discussion of Rabbis, you undermine and devalue the inherently Jewish nature of their charity. Its rude.

          Show a little respect and courtesy for the faith of the clergy who are the subject of this article. They act in accordance with their own faith, not necessarily yours. You don’t have to make your religious beliefs the center of attention.

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