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September 30, 2014 / 6 Tishri, 5775
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Orphans No More

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“Now now, don’t you think you are holding this grudge a bit too long?”

“No. You see they say you always have to be wary of people who worry about animals more than people. Do you know how many starving Kenyans there are? The majority of the country is actually starving! The best profession for a Kenyan that guarantees abundant food, generous medical benefits, and a great salary is not being a doctor, lawyer, police officer, Judge, or engineer. The best thing for a Kenyan to become is an elephant baby sitter! Do you know how much money this foundation, the David Shedrick Wildlife Trust, has for elephants and not for people? The article says their budget is close to a billion dollars! Now I know you can’t mish tzedakah (mix charity) funds but really, don’t you think the starving Kenyans should get something?”

“Well, what are you doing for the Kenyans?”

“Not much, but there is a good reason why I can’t! You see there is an old time resident of Kenya (I said resident and not someone born there) who has a prominent position in the White House. He said the United Nations will take care of the poor of Kenya. So you see there is no way I can help them.”

“O.K. But don’t you think you should have a bit of sympathy for the Kenyans – Oops! I meant to say “the elephants?”

“No, absolutely not.”

“There you go again, Mrs. Cruelty.”

“That’s not my name. Now hear me out. Not that long ago there existed a sophisticated nation that was very concerned about the wellbeing of their dogs. They passed many laws to protect them. Now they had a bit of a problem in their relations with a very small minority of people that lived amongst them. In fact, they were much nicer to their dogs then they were to those people. They were called Nazis.”

Alan Gross

“Well, uh….”

“Let me share with you something more recent. About three years ago the Richmond Times Dispatch reported (August 27, 2009) that, Robin Starr, CEO of the SPCA, (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) left blind and deaf Louie in the car unattended for over four hours as she enjoyed shopping at the mall. It was 85 degrees in Richmond and experts explained that the temperature inside the closed car reached above 130 degrees that day. Louie died. He was a sixteen-year-old blind and deaf dog that Robin had adopted. Now in her defense, her husband Ed explained that it was all his fault. He had placed Louie in the car without telling her. She didn’t notice him. If you ask me, most probably the deaf/ blind dog was also mute and somewhat invisible at sixteen years of age. Now she didn’t need my svoros (thoughts) to defend herself. Ed Sayers, President of the SPCA sided with Robin stating that: ‘While some might unfortunately call for Robin’s resignation as a result of this horrible accident, it is imperative that we focus on the thousands of animal she has saved through her work with the Richmond SPCA.’

“What can I tell you? If you take care of animals, even if you are fatally negligent with them, they still defend you. Annie Grier, Chairwoman of the Board of Richmond’s SPCA even taynid in a lomdishe oyfen (gave sound legal arguments) against those that who felt that ‘She (Robin Starr) doesn’t have much credibility any more’ and those that said, ‘Just because it was a mistake doesn’t mean you don’t have to pay for it.’ Annie claimed that the dog’s death would boost Robin’s position as an animal advocate because ‘it enhances her ability to communicate and educate the public about humane issues. I think if this can happen to her, it can happen to any of us.’

Turns out she got out of the mess without any problems and she continues in her position at the SPCA at Richmond! It reminds me that somehow, Judge Linda Reade did not factor in all the chesed that Sholom Rubashkin did for all people – Jews and non-Jews alike- when she sentenced him to 27 years. Imagine if Robin Starr was in Sholom Rubashkin’s shoes. Let’s say she would have been convicted of all the stuff Rubashkin supposedly did. I bet you that Ed Sayers, Anne Grier, the SPCA and Judge Linda Reade would have stood by her! In the zechus (merit) of Robin’s helige (holy) work for animals, her judgment would have been that she continue her heilige work and not waste even one day in jail. You see, certain professions have it made with lots of side benefits too!”

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