About rabbiisa

I'm a Reform Rabbi, with a passion for education! I'm also a pop culture fan, political junkie and crossword puzzle addict.

If You Save a Single Life

By Rabbi Elisa Koppel

“If you save a single life, it is as if you have saved an entire world.” (Talmud, Sanhedrin, 37a)

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I’ve used that quote on countless flyers for blood drives and in publicizing blood donation opportunities.  Donating blood is literally a potentially life saving action.  Just 1 pint can save up to 4 lives.  With a constant shortage of blood available, it is so important.  Each time there is a natural disaster or tragedy of violence, the importance and need becomes even more apparent.

Just this past weekend, we held a blood drive at Temple Beth-El.  I beamed with pride as I saw one of our high school students sitting next to a local news anchor, each of them participating in this mitzvah, this sacred obligation.  We collected 27 pints–which is amazing considering how many people had been fasting for Yom Kippur the day before.

And then I start to think.

And I realize how much higher that number could have been.

If not for the outdated policy of the FDA, part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which prevents men who have had sex with another man, even one time since 1977, for being eligible to donate.

This policy has been in place since 1983, a time at which our understanding of HIV was just beginning–an understanding that has changed drastically over the past 3 decades.  With current science and knowledge, and with current screening technologies (which did not exist in 1983), the time has come (and is, quite frankly, well overdue), for this policy to change.

It is time for the thousands of willing donors who are currently being prevented from even being considered for donation–and for those who are forced to decide whether to tell the truth on a form because they want to give blood and they know they are healthy to not have to be forced into that decision making process.

The American Medical Association, the Red Cross, and America’s Blood Centers have all called upon the FDA to change this policy.  Even the HHS Advisory Committee on Blood & Tissue Safety & Availability has recognized that the current system allows high-risk individuals to donate, while preventing low-risk individuals from doing so.

Last month, Senator Elizabeth Warren wrote a letter signed by 81 Members of Congress to HHS, calling on them to expedite changes to this discriminatory ban.

Let us advocate for this change in policy so that we may all take part in saving lives.

Call your Senators and Members of Congress and let them know your stance on this issue, and of its importance.

Sign this petition from GMHC on this issue.

And sign this petition which Mayor Evan Low from Campbell, CA.

Speak out about this issue.  Educate about this issue.  And even as we continue to host blood drives, and for those that can donate, let us not forget those that, unfairly, cannot.

Let us save lives.  Let us all, together, save the world.

Rabbi Elisa Koppel is the Associate Rabbi at Temple Beth-El in San Antonio, TX.  

Remember: When our story becomes my story #BlogElul 14

by Rabbi Elisa Koppel

I love the idea of collective memory–of those things that we remember ourselves, but even moreso, that we remember together. Those moments when our own memories meld with those around us, and multiple stories are woven together into one tale.  Moments that we each remember differently as individuals, and yet have all become melded together over time as we tell and retell our stories.  Moments that we may not even have been there for, and yet are indellibly printed into our minds.  Stories that we’ve heard so many times that it is as if we were there.  Memories that belong to each of us as much as they belong to all of us.

This is why we tell the story of the Exodus each Passover at the seder, so that we can all join into the collective story of the beginning of the Jewish people–making the story our own as we tell it once again.

And this, to me, is the power of the shofar.  A sound that has been described as being as ancient as it is timeless.  It’s amazing to me that the basic sound of the blast of a shofar has essentially not changed since that moment on Mount Sinai.  For all this time, we’ve been hearing the same sound.  It connects us to our past and to others.  And for that moment, time stops, and the universe outside of that sound ceases to exist, and that shofar is the sound of our story.

And yet, at the same time, the shofar calls to us differently each year–we experience that moment differently.  Because of who we are at that moment.  Of where we’ve found ourselves within our collective memory and our shared story.

I’ve been thinking a lot about conversion lately, and look forward to welcoming some new souls into the Jewish people next week.  One of my favorite things about working with people through the process has always been–and continues to be–seeing them begin to, themselves, start to remember these collective memories, as they begin to take their own place in our story.  Watching them figure out how to tell and retell the tale it in their own way.

So that when they embrace the Torah scroll for the first time, it’s a scroll that contains their own memories that they are holding in their arms.

And when they hear the shofar for the first time as a Jew, it is a sound they’ve been hearing–we’ve all been hearing–for thousands of years.

I have been participating this year in #BlogElul, an online project in which individuals share their insights on High Holy Day themes throughout the month of Elul, through blogging and other modes of social media.  I have to say, #BlogElul has been a powerful part of my spiritual holiday prep over the past couple of years–I encourage you to read my words and words of others–and maybe even add some of your own (or images, or videos, or sounds, or anything else you can think of).  There’s more on #BlogElul here if you want an overview!

Rabbi Elisa Koppel is the Acting Associate Rabbi at Temple Beth-El in San Antonio, TX.   When she’s not creating shared memories, she enjoys making memories of her own, and frequently trying to remember where she put her keys.

This post is crossposted from her personal blog: Off the REKord 

It’s Been A Week

By Rabbi Elisa Koppel

Excerpts from my D’var Torah this week.  The full text can be found on my personal blog: Off the REKord.

It’s been a challenging week in the world.  A week full of tears.  Full of fear.  Full of the unknown.  A week in which 2 young men brought a city of millions to a standstill, leaving families in mourning, individuals in pain, and a country stunned.  A week in which those 2 young men marred the celebration of an annual event that’s about community, about people coming together, about camaraderie, about mutual support, about personal accomplishment, and pushing one’s self to go further—instead bringing hatred and violence.  A week in which, just a few hours from here, a plant explosion brought even more tragedy to our collective conscience.

This has been a week for which I have no words, and yet for which silence doesn’t seem to suffice either.

And this is the week in which we read 2 Torah portions that are connected to each other, but yet which seem to have little in common.  Acharei Mot contains rules that are given after the death of Aaron’s two sons—laws about Yom Kippur, sacrifice, and forbidden acts of intimacy.  Kedoshim on the other hand contains the holiness code—the instructions we are given in order to be holy—the guidelines for how we should behave as human beings—the blueprint for establishing a community and a culture based on justice and right.  A connection has been made between these 2 portions, though, not by the content but by the titles.  A hidden piece of truth that is so fitting this week: Acharei Mot…kedoshim: After death, holiness. 

After we experience death, the potential still exists for holiness.  When we have suffered, it hurts.  We hurt.  And yet, we are reminded that after darkness, there is light.  Even during the darkness, there is help.

This has been a week which is full of hope.  A week in which as people came together, they reached out their hands to one another.  They offered courage.  They offered what they could.  A week in which Mr Roger’s now famous quote was shared again and again, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”  And throughout this week there have been so many signs that such wisdom is true.

Yes, this is a week in which we have seen both acharei mot and kedoshim.  As we continue to confront the reality of this week’s news, continue to learn more about what happened, hope to see the end of this chapter, we must continue to bring more of that holiness—to ourselves, to our neighbors, to the world. 

This is a week in which , Rabbi Joe Black composed these beautiful words, as part of his Prayer in the Aftermath of the Boston Marathon Bombing:

Neither bombs, nor blood, not death, nor destruction can deter us from running, O God.

We run to You.

We run towards a vision of perfection that is always in our sights.

We run determined to never allow hatred to obscure Your presence.

We run to build a better world.

As Jordana Horn wrote this week, “Goodness itself is a marathon.”  Let us all push ourselves to bring more goodness, more holiness, into this broken world.  And with the prayer in our hearts that we, indeed, run towards a better tomorrow, a time where there is more holiness for ourselves and throughout the world, let us commit ourselves to embracing that dream and towards building our future. 

Rabbi Elisa Koppel is the Acting Associate Rabbi at Temple Beth-El in San Antonio, TX.  She is from New Jersey, but her people are from Massachusetts.  She’s an avid Red Sox fan.  Her heart is in the east (both Jerusalem AND Boston).

#BlogExodus 8 and 9: Learning and Asking: A Kitchen Full of Lessons

By Rabbi Elisa Koppel

This blog post is part of a project called BlogExodus and it’s cousin, Exodusgram.  Throughout the weeks leading up to Pesach, folks are taking part in adding their voices to a variety of daily themes related to the holiday through words, pictures, tweets, and any other ways they can think of to participate.  I invite you to add your voice to the conversation, or to sit back and read and consider–that’s participating, too.

Family legend has it that when my Great Aunt was starting to age and had already begun to decline, her daughters asked her about her chicken soup recipe, hoping to gain a piece of the recipe, or at least the wisdom of some good tips for making it special.

“Ma…tell us how you make your chicken soup.”

She looked that them, with an expression of wonder at how they could ask such a question and exclaimed, “You make it!”

Sometimes, we don’t get the answers we’re looking for, but some questions we just have to ask.  And, little by little, if we listen enough and watch enough, we can piece together the knowledge we need. And sometimes we have to ask.

When I asked my mother recently for her tzimmes recipe (Hi, Mom!), she sent me two recipes and told me she usually combines them.  I then asked her how she combined them, and she said she made one of them and added a few ingredients from the other.  I then called her and asked a question to clarify that, and she went into greater detail and then told me about how she also adds turnips and parsnips, like her mother had done.  I then asked her about the matza balls she puts in and she said, “Oh, yeah! I forgot about those.  Put those in, too.”  Piece by piece, with the right questions, I think I have a complete recipe.  So that I can make it and enjoy its flavors, and pass the experience of enjoying it on to others.

So much of Passover preparation is about the food.  What we can and can’t eat.  How to make this dish just perfectly.  That one favorite recipe that we just have to include.  And how to make a version of most of the foods that can be eaten by those with allergies, or who don’t eat meat, or who are intolerant to a variety of foods…so that everyone can have a satisfying meal.

When I look back at memories of my extended family, so many of them take place in the kitchen. Even when we aren’t cooking, the kitchen is a center of life.  And from every crumb (and I’ve always said Passover is a crumby holiday) and every spill and every taste and every extra serving, we gain a lifetime of memories–and learn from generations of wisdom.  Even as we add our own wisdom on.

Taste and memory are so connected.  There are foods that I eat that whisk me away to another place, another time.  And flavors that I have yet to be able to taste again.  Throughout our lives, we gain so many recipes! Some written down, others in the warehouse of our memory.  And as we share our meals with others (such an essential part of the Passover tradition), we enjoy the opportunity to teach–so that our guests may learn new tastes.  And maybe even ask for the recipe.

“May all who are hungry come eat!”  Indeed.

Cross Posted on Off the REKord

Rabbi Elisa Koppel is the Acting Associate Rabbi at Temple Beth-El in San Antonio, TX, where she’s constantly adding more recipes to her ever growing collection.

No, I won’t sign

By Rabbi Elisa Koppel

I lost count of how many requests I’ve received to sign the Sandy Hook Elementary School National Sympathy Card.  I have to admit that I find myself bothered every time I see it.  Most of the time, since it’s from a petition site, it comes with a message that my signature will make a difference.  And really, signing that particular statement is not how I want to use the power of my name.  I’ve ignored the request every time.

It’s not that I think it’s a bad statement–it isn’t.  It’s not that I don’t care–I certainly do. But, at the same time, the message doesn’t really say anything and it’s almost too easy to feel good myself about having “done something” in response to the shooting.  There are many other ways that I’d rather respond to this tragedy.  Ways that I feel can make more of a difference than digitally signing onto a card.

I did a funeral for a man yesterday who happened to have been a survivor of the Holocaust.  One of the things I learned about him in meeting with his family was that he was a many who loved love and hated hate.  He was so full of love, in fact, that when asked once by one of his daughters if he hated Adolf Hitler, he responded that he did not hate Hitler, but instead he pitied him–he had a terrible mother and a terrible life.  For a survivor of the Shoah to make that statement is a powerful testament to me to the power of love.  This lesson from this man’s legacy has very much informed my thought process of how I’m responding to what happened.

Here are some ways to act:

#26acts of kindness: Ann Curry has used the power of social media to encourage people to do 26 random acts of kindness to others, to honor the memory of the innocent lives lost in Newtown.  Do 26 things for others–join with 25 friends and each do a kidness.  But let’s bring more kindness to the world.

Make a snowflake: The Connecticut PTSA is doing a snowflake drive to decorate the halls of the new school that the children of Sandy Hook Elementary School will return to.  What a powerful way to show these kids and their families that they have tons and tons of people–unique individuals–on their side–mourning with them and supporting them.

Make Your Voice Heard: This incident has shown us that there are inherent problems in society that we need to do something about.  Gun violence is one of them.  I know I have my own opinions about how to create a system in which fewer innocent lives are lost to gun violence.  I’m sure you have your own views. Whatever those views are, write to your Members of Congress, call the White House.   Tell them what you think.

In addition, access to mental health care is important; we need to create workable systems through which care and treatment can be attained for mental illness.  We also need to stop stigmatizing mental illness, and help others to recognize that illness is illness–whether in the brain or in other parts of the body.  Share with others your ideas about how to make mental health care a priority.

Make your voice heard.

Donate: The Connecticut PTSA is also collecting money to help the community.  The classrooms that the kids will go to will need supplies.  The community needs so much to recover from this devastation.  A little money can go a long way.  Please consider giving.

Some day, I hope that we don’t have to worry about how to respond to tragedy.  I hope pray that such a day will come soon.  In the meantime, I believe that the more kindness–the more love–we bring into this world, the closer we’ll move towards that time.

Rabbi Elisa Koppel is the Acting Associate Rabbi at Temple Beth-El in San Antonio, TX.  She blogs here: http://rabbiisa.wordpress.com/  She’s doing what she can to be mindful of bringing more kindness into the world and hopes you’ll help.

When soul and sole come together

By Rabbi Elisa F. Koppel

So, I’m not ashamed to admit it: I like shoes.

I’m not quite obsessive about them, but I probably have more pairs of shoes than I need; and I’m always finding new ones–you know…the ones that would be perfect with that one outfit.

More than one might expect, my love of shoes and my rabbinate come together. First of all, I must mention that the first temple president I worked with as a rabbi was in the shoe business, so I became quite aware of what was on my feet each time I was on the bimah early in my career. It’s always a challenge to find shoes that work from a fashionable standpoint, and are also comfortable enough to stand in for long periods of time.  It’s always a balance.

There is, of course, the hunt for Biennial Shoes every other year. And the absolute need for rain boots at camp each summer. And the opportunity, every now and then, to pull out my flowered Doc Marten boots (usually because they’ll go perfectly with my Purim costume)!

But the time at which my thoughts of spiritual matters and spirit-shoe-al matters (pardon the bad pun) some together most meaningfully is each year on Yom Kippur.

One of the traditions of Yom Kippur is to not wear leather shoes.  It’s one of the “afflictions” that the rabbis outlined for the day.  For me, this has been a meaningful aspect of the holiday.  I’ll admit, wearing Chucks or Crocs in some years has also been the more comfortable choice, but to me that’s somewhat of a side benefit; it’s really about the symbolic meaning of the gesture.

Others, by the way, have argued that because affliction was the purpose, one should wear the most uncomfortable heels possible.  I applaud that choice for them–and love that Reform Judaism gives us the ability to interpret things in different ways.  But that answer doesn’t work for me.

To me, the affliction is not about discomfort; it’s about not using things that not everyone has.  Leather is a sign of luxury.  By not wearing leather, I’m reminded of the fact that many people can’t afford leather shoes (or really nice heels, for that matter).

In addition, as tradition tells us that all souls are equal on Yom Kippur, it doesn’t feel right to wear something that’s made out of one of God’s creations, on that of all days.

Yom Kippur, as I see it, is sort of the great equalizer.  It’s the day where we all go without food and without luxury.  Wearing non-leather feels right to me.  And helps me to be more aware of what the purpose of the day is.  It also allows me to do something different than what I do every other day.  It sets the day apart from the rest of the calendar.

To me, all of that makes it a powerful act.

This year, by the way, I’m going to be wearing Tom’s.  They’re a little bit nicer than sneakers, I can get vegan ones, and a pair of shoes goes to someone who wouldn’t have them otherwise.  Seems only appropriate.

So…what shoes are YOU wearing for Yom Kippur?

Rabbi Elisa Koppel is the Acting Associate Rabbi at Temple Beth-El in San Antonio, TX.  She blogs personally at Off the REKord.  Having recently moved to San Antonio, she has begun to wonder how long it will take before she adds a few pairs of cowboy boots to her shoe collection.

BlogElul 2012: Day 2: Inventory

By Rabbi Elisa Koppel

My friend and colleague Rabbi Phyllis Sommer, is coordinating BlogElul, through which participants are using social media (blogging, but also other tools) to engage in reflection as we go through this month of preparation, leading up to the high holy days.  I encourage you to follow the posts and join in with your own writing.  Today’s theme is Inventory.  Here’s the full list:

I just moved.  The idea of inventory is quite apparent to me at the moment.  My life is in who knows how many boxes, most of them not yet unpacked.

And there it is.  My life in boxes.  It always amazes me to see my entire home fit into a truck like a bizarre version of 3D Tetris.  To see everything I own all wrapped up and in one place.  And then to watch it all come out of the truck and into the rooms that are just beginning to become mine.

I have to say, I’m kind of excited about unpacking.  While I loathe packing (I don’t like it when I have to go away for a weekend, I like it even less when I need to move), I enjoy unpacking…at least when I’m moving   After a trip, especially a good trip, it’s one of life’s minor annoyances.  But unpacking in a new home can be a great process.

For one thing, taking a space and making it home is powerful.  From figuring out where everything goes, to the little touches here and there that leave accents of me sprinkled throughout the rooms.  With this particular move, I’m in a brand new place, and had something of a journey to figure out where I was going to be–some I’m particularly joyful and excited to make this new place my home.

Then there’s fun of finding things.  Those things that I had forgotten about that show up in the bottom of a box and make me smile.  Those things that just make me happy when I see them. Or those things that I really need, that it’s such a relief to find (like a frying pan, plate and some silverware–maybe a pot–would be quite a pleasure some time before dinner).

But my favorite part is seeing all these items, and considering how they got to be mine, or when and where I was when I got them.  Some things more than others are symbolic of so much more than the items they are.  They are my life, my history, my story.

Like the antique mannequin that is one of three that my grandfather kept after he closed his children’s clothing store many years before I was born…which sat in their basement covered in a sheet (family legend has it that the first time my uncle saw the 3 mannequins,  he thought they were ghosts).  Her name is Mabel and she’s been with me since my second year of Rabbinical School.

Or the end tables that were once in the home of my Great Aunt and Great Uncle.

Or that piece of furniture known as “The Thingie,” which I bought at Ikea in my very first apartment in New York with my best friend.  We knew what we wanted (something that had glass shelves and a door, to display things that would fit perfectly into the corner where we envisioned it would go) but we didn’t know what to call it, so we said we needed a thingie for that corner.  The name stuck.

Or the breakfront that was my grandmother’s.

As I get off the computer and leave Starbuck’s and head back up to my apartment, may I appreciate the unpacking process, and use it to reflect on my life, as I enter this new phase of my journey, and create a new home.

Rabbi Elisa Koppel is the Acting Associate Rabbi at Temple Beth-El in San Antonio, TX.  You can read more of her thoughts at her personal blog: Off the REKord where she writes about Elul, Judaism, life, and sometimes pop culture and politics.

What Exactly Am I Doing Here?

Had you polled all of my classmates at HUC and asked everyone to rank ourselves in order of who was most likely to ever attend a WRN Convention, I’m pretty sure I would have been in the bottom 10 of most lists.  Seriously—some of our male classmates would have been listed before me—including on my own list.  It just wasn’t my thing.

I never went to the women’s only Rosh Chodesh services, and tended toward hanging out with the guys.  Even after ordination, I shied away from being one of “those female rabbis.”  I just wanted to be a rabbi.  I honestly didn’t see a difference, or a need for us to do our own thing, at that time.  Having grown up in an era where I was taught to believe that girls could do anything boys can do, and having role models that were both male and female, in a variety of leadership roles, I really didn’t see that there was a need for “those women things.”

I even gave a sermon during one of my first years as a rabbi, on Sisterhood Shabbat no less, titled “Why I’m Not A Feminist.”  At that time, I think I had an image of “those feminists.”  I’ve since, of course, learned that there are as many types of feminists as there are Zionists.  And that I can be both an equalist (a term I always preferred, connoting the idea that we’re all equal) and a feminist.

It was at the WRN Conference last year, that I recalled all this.  And now, here I am…not only did I attend a conference, not only did I help coordinated some of the workshops, but I’m even here blogging for the WRN.  So I find myself asking…what’s changed?

Admittedly, I’ve been doing a lot of introspection—job hunts tend to do that to me.  Between the inner searching to figure out what I want to do and to be and the need to answer tons of questions about myself, I find myself thinking about what I do and why I do it a lot more during these periods.

As I write this just as my job hunt comes to a close, I find myself wondering when I started thinking of feminist as a possible descriptor of myself, and woman rabbi as one of my identifying features—not just woman—not just rabbi—but woman rabbi.

Was it when I smiled the time the Rabbinic Intern at the congregation where I was Assistant Rabbi read “She” instead of “He” for God in Gates of Prayer? Was it when I filed a claim with the EEOC because I was discriminated against because I was female (not to mention single)? Was it when I realized that I had people make comments to or about me that were not comments that my male colleagues ever had? Was it when I realized that I needed to be conscious about how and when I responded to both males and females when I was teaching? Or was it when I realized that there were people who preferred to hire someone who looked like what a rabbi should look like? Or was it when I realized that there were conversations that I could have with my female colleagues that my male colleagues couldn’t relate to in the same way?

Or was it a combination of all that?

Don’t get me wrong—I still value the time I have with my male colleagues.  I love my boys.  There are conversations I can have with them that I can’t have with my female colleagues, to be honest.  Both are important to me.  Even now, I’m generally more comfortable in a mixed gender conversation than I am in a discussion with all women.  But, at the same time, I value the time I have with my female colleagues.  It’s special—it’s different—it’s kadosh.

Rabbi Elisa Koppel, a proud feminist and equalist was most recently the Associate Rabbi at Temple Beth-El in Hillsborough, NJ.  She’s soon to begin a new adventure!! She blogs personally at Off the REKord.

So, You Want to be a Hero?

By Rabbi Elisa F. Koppel

…A Jewish tale, told from one generation to the next…
One evening, the Baal Shem Tov, exhausted, quickly fell into a deep sleep. After what felt like no time, though, there was an angel right next to his bed, shouting, “Wake up! Get out of bed!” Although it was still evening, he followed the angel. As they went outside, the Baal Shem Tov saw a man walking carelessly across a narrow, rickety bridge. Below him, on either side were icy depths and a fiery furnace. Clearly, this man was in great danger, couldn’t seem to see his peril. The Baal Shem Tov tried to shout out to the man, but his lips had been sealed. Suddenly, there’s a great flash of lightening and the man can suddenly see the bridge, see the icy depths, see the fiery furnace. He panics, and starts to lose balance, teetering on the bridge, struggling not to fall. At that same moment, the Baal Shem Tov regains his speech and shouts to him, “Fly! You can fly!” And the man flew.

For generations, we’ve had tales of ordinary people who develop powers that they never dreamed of–who seemingly do the impossible. This story of the Baal Shem Tov, ambiguously told so that it could all be a dream, shows a seemingly ordinary man who suddenly is able to save his own life through flight. All it took was someone telling him that he could do it.

Stories of heroes are as old as stories themselves–and as new as this moment.  Stories of people possessing power that they did not realize they had have always existed.

Take Superman, the prototype of the modern American superhero. Based in many ways on classic hero tales in many cultures, Superman was unique in the idea that superhuman powers could (and should) lead to a decision to increase justice in the world. Look at the very first page of Superman 1

While Superman’s origin story changed over the years, the essence has always remained of Clark Kent having a decisive moment to use his powers towards righting the wrongs around him (and, with the ability to go faster than a speeding bullet, around is a large space). I can’t think of a more Jewish idea. Once his abilities are realized, Superman goes forth on a mission of tikun olam—repairing the world. Superman embodies the answering of Isaiah’s call to us, to unlock the chains of wickedness, to loosen exploitation, to free all those oppressed, to break the yoke of servitude.

I’ve always had a thing for superheroes.  What I love most is this idea that we each have unrealized powers.  That we all have the potential to be super heroes.  Yes.  I’m telling you now: YOU ARE A SUPER HERO!

And, like Superman, it’s our responsibility to do something with our powers.

This past week, I’ve been thinking a lot about superheroes, since hearing the sad news that Sam, the six-year-old son of my dear friends and colleagues, Rabbis Phyllis and Michael Sommer, had been diagnosed with Leukemia.  His story, their story, is being shared here at Superman Sam.  They’ve asked here for all of us to be superheroes for Sam, and show him that he has a whole team behind him.  I encourage you all to take a picture and send it to him…let’s use our powers to show this little boy that he is not alone in his fight.  Let’s all use our super powers to make a big difference in a seemingly small way.

After all, that’s what heroes do.

Rabbi Elisa F. Koppel’s current secret identity is as Associate Rabbi and Youth Director at Temple Beth-El in Hillsborough, NJ.  You can read a slightly different version of this blog post on her blog: Off the REKord.