August 2, 2007 -- La Cañada Valley Sun

"Around Town:Our Obligation"

By Anita Susan Brenner

The news came quickly, as bad news often does, in an e-mail. The message: "We lost our beloved rabbi emerita, Carole Meyers today."

There is a branch of theology that addresses these kinds of losses. Theodicy is the study of why bad things happen to good people. Good people like Rabbi Carole Meyers, an inspirational woman who led Temple Sinai of Glendale for 15 years. She resigned in 2001 to devote herself to her husband and two young children.

There are few females in the rabbinate and Rabbi Meyers was the first woman to lead a congregation in Los Angeles. This loss is deeply felt by many people. I will leave it to theologians to discuss why children must be separated from their mothers, and husbands from their wives.

Our generation has an obligation to find a cure for cancer.

Here in La Cañada Flintridge, life is generally good. Despite September 11th, despite the risks of terrorism, or the deaths of America's sons and daughters on the battlefield, here in La Cañada most of us live charmed lives. We are affluent. We have a good public school system. The surroundings are pleasant. Despite the odd bank robbery, the crime rate is low. Our children generally grow to adulthood and most of us have good health. Each day in the foothills, the sun rises and sets with exquisite beauty.

The one random factor is cancer. You can wear a rabbit's foot. You can do yoga. Or eat brown rice. It doesn't matter — the disease can strike without warning. It can hit families that have had cancer. It can hit families that have not. It hits good people equally with the bad. It strikes the young and it strikes the old. Cancer is an unfair, random disease.

Eighty years ago, to be diagnosed with diabetes was a death sentence. Until, one day, they found a cure.

I admit that I am oversimplifying. Cancer is probably many diseases and there probably is no one cure for all types of cancer. On the other hand, the researchers might discover that cancer was much simpler to solve than they had realized. Some day, God willing, our grandchildren will look back on us and say, "Once upon a time, good people died of cancer. Then, one day, they found a cure."

To reach that day, support is needed for research. I pray that our generation will accept the challenge of bringing us closer to to the day when cancer is a disease of the past.

May Rabbi Meyers continue to be an inspiration to those who knew her. And may her family find strength and peace.

Anita Susan Brenner is a longtime La Cañada Flintridge resident. She is an attorney with Law Offices of Torres and Brenner.