Miracles: Post 3 from Tribefest
What do you think of when you hear the word miracle? The parting of the Red Sea? Moses turning his staff into a snake? Water into blood?
Yesterday afternoon we heard from Jonny Imerman a Detroit native now living in Chicago who is a young adult cancer survivor. Jonny created Imerman Angels to ensure that no one fights cancer alone. His organization carefully matches a cancer fighter with someone who has fought and survived the same type of cancer (a Mentor Angel). Imerman Angels now has more than 4,000 cancer survivors and more than 1,500 caregivers in its network.
We also heard Bradley Sherman’s incredibly moving story about how Jewish agencies have shaped his life. A loving Jewish family adopted him from Bellefaire Adoption Center in Cleveland, Ohio, as an infant. Bellefaire JCB is an innovative organization that provides care, education, and advocacy to enhance the emotional, physical and intellectual well-being of children, young adults and families in the Jewish and general communities. Bradley met his future wife on a Taglit-Birthright trip. When his mother was killed in a terrible car crash while he was at Northwestern University, his ZBT fraternity brothers through Hillel made a daily minyan so he could say kaddish.
What does this have to do with miracles? What may seem like a curse might just be a door opening to a transformation. Instead of being bitter about having cancer in his 20s, Jonny felt empowered. That Mentor Angel is a miracle to the cancer patient. Bradley is confident that he experienced a miracle when his parents adopted him from Bellefaire. He tells us that he couldn’t help but become acutely aware of how Jewish agencies made him who he is today. Now he is telling his story and inspiring young Jewish leaders to improve the communities in which they live.
Miracles are real things that we can create. For the two individuals that are mentioned here, there are countless people at this conference that have their own unique stories and are inspiring their others to be miracle makers. Together we make miracles happen.
Kelli Saperstein is blogging from TribeFest in Las Vegas. Check back often for more updates.