A child’s death is out of sequence. It is a break in the natural order. It is a break in the heart – the hearts of all who knew Miriam Avraham, of her family, her neighbors, her teachers, friends, and classmates. And those who merely knew of this bright and gifted child, who was only 10 years old when she was killed in a horrific accident last Thursday, ache in sympathy for her loss and for the injuries sustained by other passengers in the car. (See When tragedy strikes and children grieve.)

Despite the fact that the accident occurred when the Standard was already in type and in the mail, we worked to inform the community of the tragic news through our Website, jstandard.com, and are planning to update the site as events unfold.

We commend the educators at Solomon Schechter Day School New Milford and The Frisch School in Paramus for acting quickly on behalf of their grief-stricken students, many of whom had not encountered death before and who were shocked by the death of one of their own. Also, rabbis from the community came to the school and otherwise made themselves available to children who needed their support.

Schechter’s sorrow came at the close of a night of joy, a party in the school’s sukkah culminating in the dedication of a Torah written by Schechter families throughout the year under the guidance of a scribe. It is the greatest pity that the Avraham family did not arrive in time to see it.

May Miriam Avraham’s memory be a blessing.


Honey is a fixture at Jewish tables during the High Holy Days, symbolizing our wishes for a sweet new year. But it is more than a symbol – it is an endangered commodity, according to environmental writer Rowan Jacobsen. Echoing Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring,” Jacobson writes, in “Fruitless Fall: The Collapse of the Honey Bee and the Coming Agricultural Crisis” (Bloomsbury), that 30 billion bees – one-third of the world’s bee population – died mysteriously in 2007. It’s an epidemic he calls “colony collapse disorder,” and it’s been attributed to viruses, parasites, pesticides, and chronic stress. Yes, bees experience stress, and a major stressor is technology itself. Jacobsen quotes a honey-bee geneticist: “What has happened to our bees? Jet planes have happened.”

Bees do so much more than provide the honey for our holiday tables. Our entire system of “industrial agriculture” depends on them for pollination, for example. Let’s hope that the powers that be pay attention to environmentalists’ warnings.