Jewish Book Fair returns

Rabbi to talk about Kids Kicking Cancer

By: Mike Koury | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published October 23, 2015

 Rabbi Elimelech Goldberg’s “A Perfect God Created an Imperfect World Perfectly: 30 Life Lessons from Kids Kicking Cancer” features lessons he’s learned from helping kids manage the stresses of having cancer through martial arts.

Rabbi Elimelech Goldberg’s “A Perfect God Created an Imperfect World Perfectly: 30 Life Lessons from Kids Kicking Cancer” features lessons he’s learned from helping kids manage the stresses of having cancer through martial arts.

Photo provided by Sari M Productions

WEST BLOOMFIELD — For the 64th year in a row, the largest Jewish book fair in the country returns to offer a plethora of book options for the public to see.

The 64th annual Jewish Book Fair will take place Nov. 4-15 at the Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit, 6600 W. Maple Road.

Attracting an average of 20,000 visitors each year, the fair will feature several dozen speakers from across the country and locally in Michigan, ranging from a former White House diplomat to a rabbi lauded for his work battling childhood cancer.

Director of the Jewish Book Fair Rachel Ruskin said that every year, the staff researches what books are coming out while trying to figure out what they think the community would like to see.

With a mix of both local and internationally renowned authors, Ruskin said she and the staff tried picking authors who would appeal to everyone. 

“It’s not just something for the Jewish community,” she said. “I think it’s something the entire community can enjoy.”

One of the speakers for the event, Southfield native Rabbi Elimelech Goldberg, will hold a lecture about his book “A Perfect God Created an Imperfect World Perfectly: 30 Life Lessons from Kids Kicking Cancer.”

After his daughter, Sarah Basya Goldberg, died from leukemia at the age of 2, Goldberg, a rabbi of 47 years, found himself directing a camp for kids with cancer in New York. One day in the infirmary, he noticed a child in pain when having the port in his chest accessed for chemotherapy.

“He was so afraid,” Goldberg said, because the nurses were about to insert a giant needle into the child’s port. “He was screaming something awful.”

Goldberg, who holds a black belt in karate, asked to speak with the child and taught him some tai chi breathing techniques.

“In the martial arts, you learn that pain is a message you don’t have to listen to,” he said.

“Twenty minutes later, they took out the needle and he looked up at the nurses and said, ‘Did you do it yet?’ And that’s when Kids Kicking Cancer was born.”

Started in 1999, Kids Kicking Cancer aims to help children with cancer through a mix of modern medicine and breathing, relaxation and other martial arts techniques to ease the patients’ minds while also empowering them.

Goldberg also said he plans to bring some kids along to his lecture; he will hold a “brake” period and have the kids demonstrate how to be less stressed through the techniques from the book and their classes.

“People are inspired by the stories of the children and their lives,” he said. “When children have purpose, they have less pain.”

 

Potential patrons for the fair can purchase a Prime Time Pass for $50 or a Happy Hour Bundle for $10. For other pricing details or to buy tickets for the event, call The Berman Center for the Performing Arts at (248) 661-1900 or visit the berman.org/bookfair.