Sandy's Hook and Superman Sam, Theodicy and Responsibility

Last week was the anniversary of the Sandy's Hook Massacre. It took place a week before Eliana's 3rd baby blessing (at Radlett and Bushey Reform, held on my dad's Yahrzeit). I was giving the sermon that week and those reflections, on the horror of sending my new daughter out into a world where children and their teachers and carers are gunned down, has morphed into various pieces, one on Pause for Thought in November, the other in Faiths Initiative, an interfaith magazine published in October. The editor has kindly allowed me a pdf to share it with you - uploaded here to google docs, or here: (and with thanks to my wonderful Aunt Judie Waldman for the photo).

This year, the trauma that has left me in tears on an almost nightly basis is the amazingly powerful blog by the parents of Sam Sommer, both Rabbis, but largely by his mum, Rabbi Phyllis Sommer - Ima on the Bimah. In the blog they chart Sam's diagnosis of leukemia, his treatment, improvement, and then sharp decline. He passed away last week, and I'd already been in tears reading for over a month. Other than twitter exchanges I don't know Rabbi Sommer, but her words and grief have made me, and millions of others, a part of their journey.
Superman: Sam Sommer lost his battle with cancer early Saturday morning after a brave, year-long fightOver 1000 people showed up to Sam's funeral this week. His story has made it not only into his local papers, but into the Daily Mail here in the UK. A group of Rabbis are responding to this tragedy by shaving their heads in 2014 to raise money for research into childhood cancers. The most incredible theological response to this has come from one of the shaving Rabbis, who has written a Letter From a Pissed off God: we have been given intelligence and skills and many have money beyond measure. How are we still allowing children to die? How have we not sorted this? God doesn't want these children in Eternal company. God wants them to live full and long lives. We have to work harder to make that a reality.


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