It started with vanity. My friends and colleagues were shaving their heads and I didn’t think I could do it. I am told my hair is one of my best (physical) features. I couldn’t imagine being without it. I still can’t, to be honest, but in a matter of weeks I won’t have to imagine it. Because I’m doing it – The Shave for the Brave. Because I couldn’t sit comfortably with my vanity; because there are children dying of cancer; because there are so many awful things that happen in the world that we can’t do anything about BUT THIS ISN’T ONE OF THEM. There IS something I can do (and something you can do too, so stay tuned!).
It started with Sam. Brave Sam who wanted to be a superhero but who got cancer and died instead. He was eight. His parents are both rabbis. They’re brave too. They shared their horrifying journey with the world so that cancer couldn’t be silent; so that Sam could be famous. In return, when they said, Hey, let’s get some rabbis to shave their heads and raise some money, more than 50 rabbis joined the cause. I’m just one of them. I’m not a superhero. But for Sam and Phyllis and Michael and Solly and Yael and David I will put on a cape and shave my head and raise as much money as one little rabbi in one little congregation can raise.
It started with a goal. 36 rabbis. One hundred and eighty thousand dollars. A good, solid, Jewish number. An attainable number. Then 36 rabbis grew to over 50, with other non-shavee supporters to boot. And we quickly passed 180,000 and then 360,000 and now the goal is 540,000. Dollars. I have a friend whose fiance does cancer research. When I told her about my personal goal ($5,000), she told me that those labs use that up in a day. It’s a drop in the bucket. $5,000 might not make a big dent. But $540,000 will. And I’m proud to be a part of that. Even if it means I have to shave my head.
It started with Mayyim Hayyim. We can always count on them to ritualize our meaningful moments. I will go to the water to say farewell to my hair (and hopefully my vanity). I will emerge from the water, someone who has made a difference. The droplets of mikveh water will camouflage my tears. Tears for my hair, yes, but more tears for Sam, and tears of hope as well; hope for the children we might yet save; for the parents who might not have to blog their pain; for the rabbis who might not have to explain why children die when cures can be found.
Cures can be found.
I’m doing my part. It’s time to do yours.
Please go now and make a donation.
Rabbi Emma Gottlieb has been the spiritual and educational leader at Temple Beth David since July 2012. She believes strongly in building Jewish community on a foundation of relationships and meaning and she works hard with the TBD leadership to make sure that Temple Beth David is a community that is welcoming to all kinds of Jewish families. Before coming to Temple Beth David, Rabbi Gottlieb served at Temple Beth Israel in Plattsburgh, NY. She was ordained at the Hebrew Union College, New York Campus in 2010. Rabbi Gottlieb came to Temple Beth David ready to lead others in song while she continues to guide the community through teaching and dialogue, Jewish values and rituals of our heritage, and engaging us in the spiritual and beautiful Jewish worship.