One of the sadder social media stories of last year was Superman Sam, the 8-year-old son of two reform rabbis in Wisconsin who died of leukemia. His story spread like wildfire on Facebook and Twitter, with people around the country posting their “Superheroes for Sam” photos online. Despite the support of a large community and the best work of his doctors, Sam passed away in December, and now a nationwide community of rabbis is participating in 36 Rabbis Shave For the Brave, a fundraising effort for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which works to battle pediatric cancer.
The idea was to have three-dozen rabbis shave their heads in Tuesday, April 1, as a way to attract donations to the cause (36 is 18 twice, a number that in Judaism is a symbol of life). But Sam was a superhero, so he helped the event blast right past that 36-rabbi goal, and Rabbi Rebecca Einstein Schorr has signed up 66 shavers (13 women; 53 men).
Among the six NJ residents sharpening up their razors is Rabbi Laurence W. Groffman from Temple Sholom of West Essex.
“I signed up to shave my head to help raise money to fund research for childhood cancers. Sadly, Sam died the day after I volunteered to shave my head,” he wrote on his fundraising page. “That is all the more reason for us to do what we can to try to prevent tragedies like this from occurring again.”
“We have surpassed our initial goal, but will not stop,” Schorr says on the project’s site. “Not now; not ever.”