Passover + ZBT + Blue Devils

Passover, a ZBT (Zeta Beta Tau) e-newsletter and the internet and Mike Krzyzewski and the Duke Blue Devils win the NCAA’s . . . How can these be connected?

Part I–Passover

On Sunday night, I was over at Rabbi Marc Soloway’s house for dinner.  The custom that Rabbi Marc has is on the 7th night of Passover, as a way of marking the leaving of mitzrayim and the crossing of the Red Sea by the Israelites – as well as seeing ourselves leave our own personal mitzrayims – we step over a large bowl of water.

Mitzrayim can be seen symbolically as something we have been enslaved by or something we have enslaved ourselves with, a “narrowness” in our thinking, or even a tragic event we are trying to work our way through. On the other side of the bowl on this evening were friends and hugs representing the Promised Land. Regretfully for the Israelites and often ourselves, we do not instantly go from mitzrayim to the Promised Land but rather travel through a void or nothingness similar to the wandering in the desert prior to creating the new reality…..hold this thought.

Part II-  ZBT E-newsletter and the internet

Going through my inbox, I received an E-newsletter from Rho Chapter of Zeta Beta Tau, and in a moment of time management weakness, I clicked on it and began to read through the newsletter. I really haven’t stayed in touch and through the great marketing machine of the internet have only recently started to receive newsletters from ZBT. For all you ZBT’s I was class of “84 at Illinois. I read through the newsletter and came across the story about their biggest Philanthropy — the annual ZBT Powder Puff Football Tournament. . . but just as I drifted to memories of college and sorority girls, I was snapped back to reality by the description of the charity:

All proceeds raised from Powder Puff will be donated towards the Rory David Deutsch Foundation, which was featured on and was founded by Ross Deutsch ’83 in memory of his son, Rory. The mission of the Rory David Deutsch Foundation is to eradicate pediatric brain tumors and other devastating childhood diseases.”

Wait a second,  Ross Deutsch – he lived down the hall from me sophomore year with his roommate Jeremy and their stereo cranked “The Boss”  24/7. A few minutes of Google and I had the following web links.

Part III –The Duke Blue Devils

I encourage you to read the ESPN story but if you haven’t yet (or plan to go back to it) I will very briefly summarize.  Ross meets Mike Krzyzewski, coach of the Duke Blue Devils, now 2010 NCAA champions as well as coach of the gold medal winning 2008 Olympic basketball team.  After this meeting, Ross’s son Rory is diagnosed and passes away from a pediatric brain tumor. Throughout Rory’s illness, Mike extends himself to help Ross and his family, creating a valuable relationship and new life experience for both of them.

I am really not much of a spectator sports fan.  If I had not read about coach Mike Krzyzewski earlier that day I might not have watched the game and even as I watched the game I was still cheering for Butler, the underdog. As I watched, from time to time the camera would catch Mike Krzyzewski and on his lapel I can see a gold pin – a symbol of the Rory David Deutsch Foundation that he wears whenever he coaches his team in a game. My family had heard this story from me earlier this day and I had pointed out the pin.

So what? Well, for me even before Coach Mike Krzyzewski won this latest title he had my highest regard. He had helped Ross Deutsch ’83 and his family come through mitzrayim – one of the most awful experiences imaginable. Ross and his family and friends are to be admired for the way they channeled their experience into a repairing of the world through creating Rory David Deutsch Foundation, which to date has raised over $7 million to eradicate pediatric brain tumors and other devastating childhood diseases as well as to make a difference in the lives of afflicted children and their families.

With this inspiration, what is possible?

About Bruce Wildman

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One comment

  1. Mark Loewenstein


    Inspiring story nicely done.