This piece was fist published in The Times of Israel.
Samuel Sommer, the Chicago-area Jewish boy who inspired tens of rabbis to shave their heads to raise funds for pediatric cancer research died on December 14 at the age of 8.
Many people followed Sammy’s battle against refractory acute myeloid leukemia on the “Superman Sam” blog written by his mother, Rabbi Phyllis Sommer. Word of Sammy’s passing spread quickly, and it was announced several hours later at Shacharit services at the Union for Reform Judaism biennial convention currently taking place in San Diego.
“I am breathtakingly, heartbreakingly sad. I’m not even that angry right now…I’m simply sad. Desperately sad,” Sommer wrote on December 11, her last blog entry before her son’s death. Sammy was the second of the rabbi’s four children together with her husband Rabbi Michael Sommer.
Family friend Rabbi Rebecca Einstein Schorr, told The Times of Israel that Sammy died peacefully at home shortly after midnight with his parents at his side.
“He had been put on hospice at home on Monday and by Friday he was unbelievably weak and it was expected that it would happen this weekend.” Schorr reported. “His parents said the bedtime prayers with him. He wasn’t scared. He just calmly went to sleep.”
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© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.