April 19, 2024
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April 19, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

We did not know Lizette Parker, nor did we know any of the victims of recent massacres of workers, children or teachers who were slaughtered in various locations throughout the country; yet when we hear of tragic losses we always feel a sense of grief as if we were partially stung ourselves. What can it be like to explain to a 4-year-old that she will never again see her mommy? As devout followers of any religion we are able to explain that this is the plan of Hashem. However, the pain, the realistic day-to-day life challenges that the families of such victims must face are daunting and unfathomable. We were in Rochester for the first days of Pesach when we received the initial Teaneck Shuls posting “Sad News for Teaneck,” informing everyone of the loss of the mayor of Teaneck. Ironically the exemplary life of Lizette Parker was brought to most people’s attention through her death. It reminded us of the coincidence that the same week Harriet Tubman had been chosen to be the new “face” of the $20 bill. Two women who have paved the way for others to carry on with their life’s dreams and ambitions.

We as a community seem to be primarily concerned when one of our own is a victim or faces a tragedy in his or her own family. Today, while listening to the news, they announced that a car driving on I-95 in Jupiter, Florida, had a horrific accident and several people were killed and others were hospitalized. Nina immediately worried, not having a clue where Jupiter, Florida, is, because she thinks the I-95 is the road taken from the southern states to the northern states, that a Jewish family returning from Pesach in the South had been involved in an accident. We are as guilty as everyone else. The question is, does it really matter? Lives have been gravely affected, probably for life.

We remember the circumstances surrounding our son-in-law’s remarkable recovery from sudden cardiac death 11 years ago. After some time, Mordechai wrote an article for a newspaper expounding upon the power of prayer. He mentioned a Catholic family that sat next to us in the hospital night and day, worrying for their wife, daughter and mother. Margaret Lyons, who was, shockingly, suffering at a young age the same catastrophe of sudden cardiac death, was a member of a fervently religious Catholic family. They sat with us and prayed in their own fashion for the recovery of Margaret as we sat davening for Baruch. He encouraged people to continue to pray for Margaret, as her recovery was not as successful as that of our son-in-law.

Shortly after the article was printed, Mordechai was approached by a well-known Jewish magazine asking permission to reprint his article with the stipulation that they would have to leave out the portion about the importance of praying for Margaret as well as Baruch. When Mordechai refused to delete that part of his article, they made a decision not to publish it.

We are proud that after the awful accident that befell Jo-Ann Hans, the crossing guard on duty on Rosh Hashanah at the corner of Congregation Beth Abraham, the leadership of the shul encouraged everyone to pray for her. Her denomination was not important. Yet, we easily forget that when we are not in a group situation where encouragement is coming from a leader, that one’s religion should not interfere with whether or not we care about them.

Teaneck Councilman Mohammed Hameeduddin’s words were most impressive as he spoke at the funeral of Parker. He said, “What made her the most powerful public servant that I have known is that you could trust her. I take solace in the fact that as much as we loved having her with us, God loves having her with Him.” Impressive words, Teaneck Councilman Hameeduddin.

We send our condolences to the Parker family and hope that we will all remember that tragedies know no bounds, and our sorrow and concern should be boundless as well.

By Rabbi Mordechai and Nina Glick

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