Tuesday, July 18, 2006


This story from the 16th of Tammuz about a seven year-old boy who drowned at camp continues to haunt both me and my wife. Each night we talk about it a little more. It makes us hug our daughter a little tighter before she leaves for camp each day.

The article reported:

"The child, a member of the Jewish Community Center day camp in Rockville, was one of five children taking the swimming lessons with a swim instructor. Approximately 15 to 20 children were in the pool. Two lifeguards were on duty, along with several other camp staff members at the pool, police said."

No matter how I try to understand how this could have happened with so many people nearby, I just don't understand. I cannot fathom what it was like to be this boy's parents upon hearing this horrible news; knowing that regardless of the fact that there was supervision, that now your child was dead.

I am so haunted by this story that thinking about it brings me to tears. I wished there was something I could do for these parents whom I do not even know, so on Sunday evening I went over to the shiva house.

While both parents looked horrible, the boy's father looked completely devastated; staring blankly and talking only in whispered tones. Despite his tall and muscular stature, he appeared to be no more than a shell of a human being with only the barest of life force sustaining him.

Another person introduced me to him and I told him that I had to come to let him know that my family had given tzedakah in merit of his son. I told him that I was a father of three small children and that I had to come after I heard what had happened.

The boy's father expressed his gratitude that I came and hugged me tightly. Later, before I left, I went over to him again, and without speaking, I hugged him; hoping that this gesture might bring even the tiniest bit of comfort.

Walking down the street afterwards, crying, I looked upwards and said,

"Ribbono shel Olam, please help this family. Please help this family. Please help them!!"


At July 18, 2006 at 7:04:00 AM EDT, Blogger Philly Farmgirl said...

I struggle to post a comment to this. I cannot imagine the pain felt by these parents. I also pray that Hakadosh Barukh Hu, will comfort these dear parents and family.

At July 18, 2006 at 7:31:00 AM EDT, Blogger yitz said...

SJ, You did a tremendous thing! Nichum aveilim [comforting those in mourning] is a very hard thing to do, under any circumstances. How much more so in this case, when the parents suffered such a horrible loss, and you didn't know them personally.
Sometimes just being there, without words, a smile, a hug, or other similar gesture of concern is all we can do - but that's a lot!!! Kol HaKavod!!!

At July 18, 2006 at 8:56:00 AM EDT, Anonymous kollelmama said...

These are the kind of things that scare me to no end.

At July 18, 2006 at 9:13:00 AM EDT, Blogger torontopearl said...

I echo Yitz's sentiment; you did not know this family, but you could sense their pain and did what you thought you should. Kol HaKavod.

And may we only share simchas.

At July 18, 2006 at 10:53:00 AM EDT, Anonymous chabakuk elisha said...

It's a great thing that you went to the shiva - chesed shel emes - I hope that G-d comforts them, and that they are somewhow able to feel comforted after such an unbelevable tragedy.
How can we understand... How can we understand...

May we only hear of simchas

At July 19, 2006 at 1:10:00 PM EDT, Blogger FrumWithQuestions said...

This is a very sad story. Unfortunately after you hear these stories it makes you worry more. We cannot live in fear and we need to realize that everything is in Hashems hands and we cannot understand why Hashem lets things happen they way Hashem does. Because of stories like this that are on the news all the time, I try to hide all the news from my wife because everytime she hears a story like this can get her worried to a point she is scared to go anywhere and do anything with our 1 year old daughter.

At July 19, 2006 at 10:45:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Ozzie said...


You are a mensch.


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