For 8-year-old Noah Aldrich, his 6-year-old sibling, Lucas, is more than a brother; he’s a best friend.
And to say they go everywhere together doesn’t even scratch the surface.
Earlier this month, Noah completed a mini-triathlon in Boise, Idaho, all while alternately pushing and pulling Lucas, who, as a result of a rare genetic condition, cannot walk, talk or eat on his own.
For the course’s 1-mile run, Noah pushed his brother in a jogging stroller. He pulled the same stroller behind his bike for the 3-mile ride, and he completed the 200-meter swim by strapping himself into a harness, which he attached to a floating raft with Lucas safely on top.
What does Noah have to say about his brother? “I like everything about him. He’s perfect.” Most of us would probably say that in this way, Noah is, too.
For any time that we have been presented the opportunity yet failed to recognize the potential, the shared humanity, and the perfection of all of God’s children regardless of disability, for all the times we have not lived up to the ideal exemplified by this 8-year-old Iowa boy, for any way we have, as a community, not opened up widely enough a pathway to Jewish education and engagement for every single adult and child who seeks it, slach lanu, m’chal lanu, kaper lanu, forgive us, pardon us, and grant us atonement.
Written by Rabbi David Englander, B’nai Torah Congregation; Boca Raton, Florida