Wantagh rabbi shaves head for cancer research


Rabbi Marci Bellows of Temple B’nai torah in Wantagh shaved her head for pediatric cancer research on April 1 in Chicago.

The “Shave for the Brave” event took place during the Central Conference of American Rabbis’ 125th annual convention in support of St. Baldrick’s. More than 100 male and female rabbis took part in the event. The group raised more than $593,000, all of which goes toward research. Bellows raised nearly $8,000 in her campaign alone.

“Tonight, I’m filled with an overwhelming sense of love, gratitude, hope and pride,” Bellows said. “I feel honored to be surrounded by such inspiring, incredible friends and colleagues who are willing to “walk-the-walk” and do their part to repair the world. Thanks to us, St. Baldrick’s will be able to give at least five research grants to bring us closer to a time when childhood cancer will be no more.”

At the end of October, Rabbis Phyllis Sommer and Rebecca Schorr came up with the idea of 36 Reform rabbis shaving their heads to bring attention to the fact that only 4 percent of United States federal funding for cancer research is earmarked for all childhood cancers. Two weeks after this conversation, Phyllis and her husband Michael learned that their son Sam had relapsed with AML (acute myelogenous leukemia) and that there are no other treatment options for him.

On Dec. 14, Samuel Asher Sommer, z”l, died and was laid to rest by family and friends. Between Phyllis and Michael Sommer, they’ve raised more than $100,000 for this event.

“The role of a rabbi is to right wrongs identified in the world, and the “Shave for the Brave” event allows rabbis to do that, by raising awareness of pediatric cancer and helping to work towards a cure,” said Rabbi Steven A. Fox, CCAR Chief Executive. “We are proud and honored that the CCAR Convention could host this inspiring event.”