Inspired by a boy who lost his battle with leukemia, seven New Jersey rabbis were among the more than 60 who shaved their heads on April 1, raising over $600,000 for pediatric cancer research. The shorn NJ rabbis include Joel Abraham (Temple Sholom in Scotch Plains), David Levy (Temple Shalom Roxbury Reform Temple in Succasunna), Laurence Groffman (Temple Sholom of West Essex in Cedar Grove), Cy Stanway (Temple Beth Miriam in Long Branch), and Eric Eisenkramer (Temple B’nai Shalom in East Brunswick). Most of the rabbis shaved their heads together in Chicago on April 1 at the Reform movement’s annual Central Conference of American Rabbis meeting, while others, either because they could not attend, like Groffman, or because they wanted the home town advantage, shaved closer to home.
The group gesture was in memory of eight-year-old Sam Sommer, known as “Superman Sam,” the son of Rabbis Phyllis and Michael Sommer, who died last Dec. 14, 2013. His story was well known not only through the Reform rabbinic network but also because the Sommers kept a blog throughout Sam’s illness. Their original goal was to get 36 rabbis to participate and raise $180,000.
The Sommers continue to write in their blog, which can be found at supermansamuel.blogspot.com.