Friday, April 4, 2014

Why I Shaved - For Sam

As many of you know, I have been an advocate for #36RabbisShavefortheBrave. It was a fundraiser through the St. Baldricks organization envisioned by two of my colleagues: Rabbis Phyllis Sommer and Rebecca Schorr. They originally wanted to get thirty-six rabbis together to offer to shave their heads at our rabbinic conference in Chicago to raise money to fight childhood cancer. This effort was going to be in honor of Phyllis’ son Sam “Superman” Sommer. Sadly, as many of you also know, the effort soon became one in memory of Superman Sam.

As I have been busily working hard on behalf of Har Sinai Congregation in our ReJewVenate Campaign, it simply did not feel right for me to work for a separate major fundraising campaign. So whenever I was asked, I simply said, I was supporting the Shave for the Brave and encouraging others to donate to such a worthwhile cause.

the 'before' picture with Rabbi Craig Axler
However, there was part of me that felt tremendous guilt over not supporting Phyllis and Michael Sommer (both classmates, colleagues and dear friends) in a more active way. I told myself, I just needed to stand by them and work from the sidelines to help them achieve their goals.  That, I told myself, would be enough, dayenu.

But as I took several hundred pictures of my colleagues and friends, nearly sixty in total, all up on the stage, shaving their heads, something in me was moved. Though I had not personally raised thousands of dollars for the cause, I still wanted to give more out of a sense of solidarity. I wanted to give more out of support.

And so when the last person walked into the barber’s chair, I stepped up. I was just as shocked by my actions as everyone else.

I am honored and blessed that my friends allowed me to do this. I am honored to stand by all those who shaved their heads to make a point, that no one else needs to die from childhood cancer. There is still time to donate to this important cause:  St. Baldrick's Page

me with Sammy's parents Phyllis and Michael Sommer (the three bald amigos!)

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