This week two-year-old Ayelet Galena passed away after a difficult battle with a rare bone-marrow disorder. Throughout her illness, her parents shared her journey on their tumblr blog and Facebook page. The power of the internet enabled an “Ayelet Nation” to grow. Its thousands of members prayed for Ayelet, rejoiced in her progress, worried about her setbacks, and provided all manner of support.
Like many in the DC area, I never met Ayelet, and while I know her father from my NY-days, I had lost track of him years ago. Yet so many of us mourned deeply this week–cried harder for the loss of this little girl than we ever could have imagined.
What are we mourning? The loss of precious Ayelet, of course. But–if I am to be brutally honest–is that really what has me sitting here, days later, still utterly heartbroken?
I have heaped a lot of sadness onto this one little girl. I mourn the loss of hope. I mourn the suffering of innocents, and its flip-side, the triumph of evil-doers. I mourn the loss of my belief in the efficacy of prayer, and hope (pray?) desperately for its return. I mourn the modern-day miracle that I, and so many others, were certain would happen for this family–and in turn, for us.
And yet. Ayelet did more to bring Jewish people together, and encourage them to engage in prayer and acts of lovingkindess, than a mountain of Jewish engagement initiatives. Her bone marrow donor search helped save the lives of 21 people. And she helped us all remember, if just for a moment, how incredibly incredibly lucky we are to be alive, and to be planning a future for ourselves and our children.
Please take a few minutes to check out these articles and remember Ayelet.
–“Carrying on Ayelet’s Fight for Life,” The Huffington Post
–“Mourning Ayelet Galena,” The Jewish Daily Forward
–“Ayelet Nation,” JSpace
–“Remembering Ayelet, An Inspiration I Never Knew,” Bargain Jewess
–“Team Ayelet Mourns,” Adath Israel
–“What Ayelet Taught Me,” Kveller