The news was devastating. Sandi Frank and her husband, Kenneth, had just been told that a rare form of cancer was spreading through the body of their 9-month-old son, Max.
Beside themselves, they reached out to family and friends for support. One of those friends turned to Lori Hardoon, director of the Partners in Dignity Program, who immediately drove from her office in Syosset to Schneider Children's Hospital in New Hyde Park, where the Franks were caring for their son.
When a board member of the Jewish Community Center of Staten Island died 10 years ago, people were told that the cause was cancer. But not until her husband died a year or so later were people told the real cause of their deaths: AIDS.
"Their son became the poster boy for the necessity of having education about AIDS," said Scott Feldman, the former program director of the JCC. "He was involved in the leadership group at the JCC, and he and his brothers and sisters made a family decision to reveal what their parents had died of."
The Jewish people has pulled off some pretty fancy tricks over the millennia; still being here today, with a reborn homeland, high among them. But purging sin, greed and general bad behavior from every single adherent seems a tall order, even for such a talented and determined group as ours.
So our dream of being only the people of Einsteins and Wiesels, Heschels and Koufaxes is sometimes thwarted by Rosenbergs and Pollards, Milkens and Boeskys, Amirs and Madoffs.
The other day, on a lark, I created a Facebook group called “I Refuse To Join Pointless Facebook Groups,” and invited several hundred of my online friends to join. As of this writing, about three dozen have joined this pointless group, some perhaps aware of the irony, some not.