Kids of Courage

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11 Responses

  1. Gershon Spiegel says:

    Rabbi Adlerstein, As a grateful parent of one of the Los Angeles based KOC and a regular reader of Cross-Currents, I was suprised and gratified to see your description of the event my daughter just attended. What a week she had with her favorite counselors, doctor & Medic from Camp Simcha Special. The enormity of the logistics involved is mind boggling but Dr. D, Howie and your son carried it off without a hitch. Our daughter Miriam who has profound handicaps manages to lead a pretty normal life for a frum 16 year old. She attends Bais Yaakov Los Angeles with her own nurse and is busy texting to all of her friends from Camp Simcha or locally whenever she has a chance. But after eight years of Camp Simcha Special, it is clear that her whole year revolves around Attending Camp Simcha where she has made lifelong friends and where she can truly be herself.

  2. Ken Applebaum says:

    Dear Rabbi Adlerstein, all I can say about the wonderful event that your son and the other support personnel made happen is that I am jealous of their z’chus (merit).

    Have a wonderful Purim and may Hashem soon bring the time when all our infirmities (physical and spiritual) are healed.

    Kenny Applebaum

  3. Pesach Sommer says:

    Chai Lifeline, like many wonderful organizations, needs help at this time. If this article is inspiring, let it inspire you to open your wallet as well.

  4. Sara says:

    Your beautiful article really sums this trip up in a nutshell. As the nurse on the trip, I have been priveleged to work with some awesome people and the most amazing kids in the world. Their courage is inspiring, their determination is incredible, and I am so lucky to have been able to be a part of this. Kudos to Ari and Howie for making the dream a reality

  5. Raymond says:

    I am so curious to know which Adlerstein son engaged in an activity so noble that it almost passes my understanding.

    I suppose it is true that everybody has their own handicaps and/or weaknesses. I am clearly not a good person at all compared to the supremely altruistic people described in this article; to be perfectly honest about it, I shun such activities, preferring to attach myself to the people in history who have made the most positive, longlasting, significant impact on the most people.

    Dealing with such unfortunate people, in such sharp contrast, is simply something my apparently very limited soul has very little capacity for. Or maybe my nature is too sensitive to withstand the pain I would immediately feel when around such people who constantly suffer through no fault of their own. Being anywhere close to where they are, I would probably not be able to stop crying…and if I do not stop writing this, I may cry, even now.

  6. tzippi says:

    Re 5: having the capacity to cry at another Jew’s pain is no small accomplishment.

  7. cvmay says:

    Thank You Rabbi Adlerstein for an inspiring account of a true chesed for others, a perfect post Purim desert.
    The frum kehilla is able to love/respect/admire/ &care for those with physical disabilities as part and parcel of our Jewish nation (as they are b”h). Why is it that we do not share the same feelings towards those with spiritual disabilities? Our relationship to persons with different hashkafa/halachaic/daas torah behaviour is one of unacceptability and outright disdain.

    Let us look at the words of Chumash for the proper understanding:
    “HKBH recognizes the sinner (spiritual not physical) as whole and pure from the beginning, even before he/she approaches the mizbeach! This recognition of the inner beauty of the imperfect person is symbolized by the ketores, the rei’ach nichoach of which differs markedly from the fate of other korbanos.”

    WHAT & WHO is an imperfect person? Is the imperfection physical, emotional or spiritual……..or DOES IT MATTER AT ALL?????

  8. Raymond says:

    To Tzippi whoever you are, thank you for your kind words. Sometimes I need to be reminded that I am not such an unworthy or bad person after all.

    As for all of us having various handicaps, I would like to relate a recent experience I had at my work involving two of my co-workers. I will try to keep this just to the punchline.

    The two co-workers in question, are very polite, friendly, helpful, wonderfully pleasant people to be around. Both are very intelligent and educated people; in fact, one has a graduate degree from Stanford University. Yet after more than a year of working with them, I recently discovered that one is a terrible antisemite; she regards the Torah as a book of hate and equates Zionism with naziism. The other woman not only supports abortion and euthanasia, but also seriously advocates genocide against half the human race. Neither of them ever even read the Torah, not even once, in their entire lives.

    I think that wisdom is far more important than either intelligence or formal education, and that wisdom is a whole lot more difficult to come by without the Torah. The Torah, in effect, tries to teach us wisdom from its words, so as to save us from having to learn about the realities of life directly from the school of hard knocks.

    These two women I mentioned, have little or no wisdom. Whatever education they have, is next to worthless. They know nothing about true moral values, because they know nothing about the Torah. It is no wonder, then, that they hold such outrageous views on life, because they have no guide to lead them to a straighter path. These women are truly handicapped.

  9. Toby Katz says:

    “The frum kehilla is able to love/respect/admire/ &care for those with physical disabilities as part and parcel of our Jewish nation (as they are b”h). Why is it that we do not share the same feelings towards those with spiritual disabilities? Our relationship to persons with different hashkafa/halachaic/daas torah behaviour is one of unacceptability and outright disdain. ”

    —-

    Not everyone in the frum community is able to relate to severely handicapped people. We all feel sympathy, but to be able to really get involved and do hands-on chessed takes a special kind of person.

    Conversely, the majority of Orthodox Jews do deeply desire a close connection with those who have “spiritual disabilities.” In a way, every person alive has “spiritual disabilities.” We all fall short of our own ideals. But as a general principle, Orthodox Jews do open their hearts to fellow Jews with “different hashkafa/halachaic/daas torah behaviour.” You constantly find that when a Jew is in some kind of trouble — loses a job or a home, faces illness or personal troubles — that other Jews reach out to help, regardless of hashkafic differences.

    Think what happens if you see an Orthodox Jew on the side of the road, on the way up to the Catskills, changing a flat tire, while his little kids are in the car crying. It doesn’t matter what kind of headgear he is wearing; if he is identifiably Jewish, other Jews will stop and offer help, regardless of hashkafic differences.

  10. Yehoshua Friedman says:

    Toby,
    I hope that’s true. Here in Israel people don’t always take care of people who are identified as “them”.

    BTW, are you guys still recovering from Purim, or what? Must be Pesach cleaning by now. Hope to see a new post or two soon.

  11. sima ir kodesh says:

    Toby, I relate to your POV but it is not a MAJORITY consensus.

    “if he is identifiably Jewish” – Many of our holy Jewish brothers & sisters do not look identifiably Jewish. Therefore…..

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