Team Ethan

Laura K. Silver is a trustee of the Jewish Light who writes a blog for the paper’s website (  She owns The Paper Trail of St. Louis, a financial and legal concierge service. Laura is married and the mother of two middle school age children.

By Laura K. Silver

Over the past 145+ days, I have watched a family in Cincinnati in awe.  During the summer,  three campers at my children’s camp were struck by lightning.  Two made remarkable progress very shortly thereafter and have recovered incredibly well.  One remained in the hospital until just last week.  What his recovery will look like is still an unknown.  What is known, without a shadow of doubt, is the strength of character of his family.

Usually, when someone offers to help, the instant response is to resist it.  We often ask, “What can I do for you?” only to be told, “Nothing.”  When someone asks how they can help us, we turn them down.  I don’t know whether it is pride, a sense that we are weak if we accept or what, but it is rare for someone to say, “Yes!  Here’s what you can do for me.” 

The Kadish family of Cincinnati said “yes” and what I’ve watched over the past several months is the power that comes from accepting help.  For 145+ days, Ethan Kadish had people with him around the clock–both family and members of a group of volunteers called Team Ethan.  His family was fed, loaned a car, and even had their house remodeled for Ethan’s return in a wheelchair.  There have been events ranging from a Home Run Derby to a carnival to an upcoming fundraiser during Hanukkah–Eighth Night for Ethan (  

All of this has been accomplished by a team of people united in the common goal of helping and reducing the stress on this family.  What I have watched from afar, is a group of ordinary people coming together to do extraordinary things.

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More importantly, what I have learned from the Kadish family, is the power that comes from saying yes.  They are strong, this family.  They are determined and strengthened.  Saying yes to help did not make them weak.  It fortified them.  

As we know, this year Thanksgiving and Hanukkah overlap.  To me, this year isn’t about turkeys with latkes or cranberry sufganiyot.  This year, I am thankful to the Kadishes for teaching me this valuable lesson, for inspiring me with their faith and for showing me the light.  The words “Chazak, chazak, v’nitchazek (be strong, be strong, and may we be strengthened)” have never resonated so deeply as they have from watching them.