A Family in Our Community Needs Your Help



Ethan Kadish is a 13-year-old boy in great need of the Reform Jewish community’s help.

On June 29, 2013, the afternoon peace of Shabbat at URJ Goldman Union Camp Institute (GUCI) in Zionsville, IN, was shattered by a lightning strike that left three campers unresponsive on the athletic field. Thanks to the skill, courage, and quick thinking of the GUCI staff, all three campers made it to the hospital and survived this unimaginable tragedy.

This heartrending incident tested the GUCI family, the URJ camp community, and the entire Reform Movement, but none more than the families of the injured campers. Their strength has been nothing short of inspirational. Two of those families’ children, thankfully, recovered and returned home; one even returned to camp. The third camper, Ethan Kadish, remains hospitalized in Cincinnati, OH.

To date, Ethan’s recovery has included a series of successes that began with his survival and includes milestones like opening his eyes, breathing independently, and responding to stimuli. Ethan is in the care of a fantastic medical team and undergoes several hours of intense physical therapy every day. His family looks forward to the day he will return home, but they recognize, too, that even once he’s home, his challenges will continue. Ethan will require regular therapy and constant medical care, which, once he leaves the hospital, likely will not be covered by insurance. Ethan and his family face a long, hard, and, yes, expensive road ahead.

The Kadish family’s remarkable strength comes largely from their faith – faith in the healing power of God, faith in the skill and wisdom of Ethan’s physicians, and faith in the support of the URJ and GUCI communities. We are pledged to maintain that support, ensuring that throughout the challenges ahead, their faith in our communities will not waver.

This week – the week before Ethan was to have celebrated his bar mitzvah – a fundraising campaign in his honor has been launched with HelpHOPELive, a nonprofit organization that assists the transplant community and those who have sustained catastrophic injury. The funds will help Ethan’s family meet immense financial challenges associated with uninsured therapies, home modifications, and other injury-related expenses. All contributions made in Ethan’s honor will be administered by HelpHOPELive, specifically and solely for his injury-related expenses.

Our tradition teaches that Kol Yisrael arevim zeh b’zeh (all Jews are responsible one for the other). Indeed, together with HelpHOPELive, the Reform Jewish family can honor Ethan and his family, sending a strong message that we stand together with all of them during this time of need.

To make a charitable contribution by credit card, please call 800.642.8399 or visit Ethan’s page at helphopelive.org.

To make a donation by check, make checks payable to: HelpHOPELive and include this notation in the memo section: In honor of Ethan Kadish. Mail to:

HelpHOPELive
2 Radnor Corporate Center
100 Matsonford Road, Suite 100
Radnor, PA 19087

Contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by the law. This campaign is being administered by HelpHOPELive – a 501(c)(3) nonprofit providing fundraising assistance to transplant and catastrophic injury patients – which will hold all funds raised in honor of Ethan in its Great Lakes Catastrophic Injury Fund.

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Rabbi Rick Jacobs

About Rabbi Rick Jacobs

Rabbi Rick Jacobs is the president of the URJ. See his full bio and other writings on the URJ website.

5 Responses to “A Family in Our Community Needs Your Help”

  1. avatar

    Heading over to make a donation. Strength and prayers to Ethan and his family!

  2. avatar

    My son Matthew who attends the URJ camp Eisner in Great Barrington MA. We will ask our guests to contribute and mention Ethan at the services. Perhaps we can get other families in the URJ community to do likewise.

  3. avatar
    Claire Cohen-Stelzer Reply August 27, 2013 at 10:45 pm

    Thank you for the opportunity to help Ethan.

  4. avatar
    Rabbi Bill and Deborah Tepper in Chattanooga, TN Reply August 29, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    We were once members of Rockdale Temple… Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you Ethan, and your entire family.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. When Lightning Strikes and We Are Tested | RJ Blog - October 30, 2013

    […] PICU to rehab. As you may know, Ethan and two other children, suddenly and without warning, were struck by lightning at our URJ Goldman Union Camp Institute (GUCI) in Zionsville, IN. On an otherwise pleasant Shabbat afternoon, one shocking bolt rocked an entire community – and […]

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