But we have been moved by the recent outpouring of prayers and support for the victims of two tragedies affecting the Jewish world: The family of 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky, who was abducted and murdered last week in Borough Park, Brooklyn, while walking home from summer day camp; and the Berrys, a family whose vehicle collided head-on with another in Houston over the July 4 weekend.
Parents Josh and Robin Berry were killed instantly. Two children, Peter, 9, and Aaron, 8, are paralyzed from the waist down, and a third, Willa, 6, suffered broken bones. A woman in the other car, Colleen Doyle, also died.
Many people, Jew and non-Jew alike, have come together in faith and solidarity with those who are grieving.
In New York, family, friends, dignitaries and complete strangers paid shiva calls on the Kletzky family and made minyans — prayer in its most traditional form.
At Leiby’s funeral, his father, Nachman Kletzky, said in Yiddish, “At least we had the merit of having him for nine years.”
He didn’t have to say that. He could have let his emotions overwhelm him and express rage or anger — perhaps at God himself, perhaps at his son’s accused murderer. Instead he was humbled just to have been his son’s father.
In Houston, celebrities such as Houston Astros outfielder Hunter Pence and Houston Rockets guard Kyle Lowry visited the Berry children while family friends set up a trust fund. Reality TV star Kourtney Kardashian used her name recognition to generate support for the fund, which has raised more than $46,000 so far.
This is not strictly an editorial about prayer, though these experiences have left us impressed by its power. This is an editorial about the human spirit — its positive force — and how it can manifest itself in the worst of moments, such as those over the past two weeks. Whether you prayed, acted or did both during this time, you have been part of that spirit.