Kansas, the Heart of the Jewish People
In a foreign city with a sick baby, we are overwhelmed by the outpouring of love we’ve received from Jews around the world.
I am writing in a room on the fifth floor of a children's hospital in Kansas City. We were traveling across the country to move to our new home in Denver, when unfortunately my baby daughter became very ill. With only eight hours between us and our new home, we decided it was too far and we needed to go to the hospital right away.
Thank God things are now slowly, gradually improving, but there is still a long road ahead and we will be here for a while. We are still in desperate need of the prayers of you thousands upon thousands of devoted readers across the planet.
These last few days have been filled with tremendous anxiety, pain, sadness and downright fear. However, looking back I am most overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support from the global Jewish community.
As Jews, we believe that the power of prayer is very real. God listens to us and has every ability to help us in the manner we hope He will, if He deems that is what is best for us. As soon as we realized we were in such a precarious situation, I emailed a few email rabbi list-serves to ask for people to pray for my beautiful daughter, Tzippora Bracha bas Tzirel Shoshana. What followed was nothing short of astounding. I received dozens of emails back, from people I had never met, assuring me they were praying for us, and asking what they could do to help. Old bosses called me, asking what they could do and connected me to the best doctors in the world.
My daughter’s name was submitted on websites for people across the world to pray for. Different communities around the globe held special prayer sessions for my daughter's recovery. One rabbi who I have never met prayed at the grave site of a holy Chassidic Rebbe in Poland on my daughter's behalf. My sister arranged for a group of people who together committed to complete the entire book of Psalms every day for the next three weeks. My incredible, kind, caring, generous brother-in-law who lives here has put his life on hold to help us with whatever we need. My current boss expressed that they will do anything possible to help us, even if it means making use of a private jet.
I have spent hours on the phone with an expert doctor from my home town, who has graciously given his time, clearly explaining to me what is going on. I have been given access to world experts in medicine, and top rabbis who are assisting us whenever we need them.
We currently find ourselves in a part of the country with which we are unfamiliar. With the exception of my incredible brother-in-law, who has given unbelievable emotional support, and one woman my wife has spoken with once on the phone, we don't know anyone. And yet throughout this whole ordeal, we couldn't feel more at home or more loved. The Jewish community in Kansas City has hosted us in their home even though they had never before met us. They have cooked countless meals for us, delivering them to the hospital, a good 20-minute trip from where they live. They are providing for our Shabbos needs while we are in the hospital.
One Jewish surgeon who works in this hospital stopped by to drop off lunch. Another kind family made a special trip to deliver groceries, and a microwave we could use. We have received calls and texts from people we have never met, asking how they can help. We were given a personal visit from the Executive Vice President and COO of the hospital, a member of the Jewish community here, and the President of the Board of the Hospital has seen to it that our every need is taken care of, even though she is currently in Israel. Doctors from the community who work at the hospital are visiting us every day, bringing us things we need, and giving us encouragement.
I love and adore the Kansas City community and truly feel that I am a part of the community, even though I only know one or two people from it.
In our daily prayers, there is a prayer called "Shomeah Tefillah" where we ask God to hear our prayers. When I reached that prayer, with tears pouring out, I felt unbelievably comforted as I asked God not just to hear my prayer, but to hear the prayer of hundreds of people praying for my baby across the world. We are in the month of Av, a month filled with tremendous pain and agony for the Jewish people throughout history, a month that marks the destruction of both of our Holy Temples. We are in exile, a bitter, cold, scary exile that grows scarier every day. We are in this terrible exile because, as the Talmud relates, the Jewish people demonstrated sinas chinam, baseless hatred towards each other.
Dear Almighty God, Who loves us more than anything imaginable and Whose compassion and mercy knows no bounds, please lift Your eyes from up High and see what is happening in Kansas City. See how Your children all across the world are concerned about us, loving us for no other reason than the fact that we are their brothers, fellow Jews. See the compassion your children are showering towards us. Do not turn away from the profound, baseless love they are giving us. And I beg You to remove all of the suffering from this world, grant health to all of the precious sick children in this hospital and across the world, and return us immediately to our home, in Jerusalem b'mheyra b'yameinu, speedily in our days.
Please pray that Tzippora Bracha bas Tzirel Shoshana receives a complete and speedy healing.