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Ethan’s Story

On June 29, 2013, at URJ-Goldman Union Camp Institute, a summer camp near Indianapolis, a sudden burst of lightning struck on the athletic field where Ethan was out enjoying some Ultimate Frisbee with other campers. Everything changed for Ethan in that one moment. He was taken in critical condition to a local Children’s Hospital, where the doctors and nurses worked around the clock to stabilize him and assess his injuries. Ethan suffered a severe brain injury as a result of his injuries.

Updates (98)

January 3, 2018


Tonight is a milestone—tonight marks the fifth Eighth Night for Ethan. Prior to the first, we had written remarks, but Ethan’s body decided that the hospital was where we needed to be that night, instead of celebrating the last night of Chanukah with the community which had already done so much to support us.

Thanks to our oldest son, Zakary, those remarks were still delivered, and a beautiful tradition was started.

Fortunately, we are here tonight, as one family, celebrating a holiday that has come to mean so much more to us than just the Miracle of Lights.

When speaking about the story of Chanukah, many like to focus on the messages of “a light in the darkness,” or “hope where there was none,” or “the miracle of oil.” Although it plays second fiddle to these themes, friendship, and unity, play a tremendous role in the Chanukah tale. It takes a special kind of bond to fight together against a well-trained Greek army, and the bonds of friendship—the brotherhood of the Maccabees—won the day, just as much as Judah’s hammer.

Ethan is blessed to have his own band of Maccabees fighting with him tonight. This entire event was envisioned, organized, and executed by some of Ethan’s closest friends from his time at Yavneh/Rockwern Academy.
These friends created the “Battle of the Schools” to help raise money for Ethan’s continuous medical care, and our family is so grateful for all the time and effort they have put in to making this night so special. We are constantly amazed by the amount of love people display for Ethan—as well as for our family—and this outpouring from his friends has been a tremendous sight to behold. Perhaps a true light in the darkness, providing us with hope where there was none. And some may even say, a miracle.

Even though these friends will soon be going their separate ways as they venture off to college, we hope that their bonds will remain strong. It takes a special kind of friendship to band together to fight for a friend who needs their aid.

Thank you all for coming, thank you for your generous donations to help make Ethan’s care a little bit easier, and thank you to Ethan’s Maccabees.

January 3, 2018

Ethan’s friends and classmates from Rockwern Academy’s Kindergarten Class of 2018 organized and competed in the Eighth Night for Ethan Battle of the Schools. The entire community came together on the Eighth Night of Hanukkah, December 19, for a Hanukkah celebration featuring arts and crafts for younger kids, candle lighting, a song session and dessert.
You can still contribute to their campaign in honor of Ethan at the link below!

Photo Galleries (3)

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March 24, 2018

We are making this donation in honor of Ethan and his uncle Marc, who has been a part of the Pac Iron family for twenty years. Marc will be missed by our team, and we all send our best wishes and prayers for Ethan's continuing recovery.

Ryan Glant

March 1, 2018

Purim Tzedakah for Ethan

Howard & Carolyn Wetzler

March 1, 2018

Purim is tonight and it is a time when good things can be revealed. May Hashem continue to bentch your family with only good things.❤️

Wendy Steinberg

March 1, 2018

We are always rooting for Ethan asproud members of the Team!

The Berger Family