Shalom Life | January 18, 2015

The Power of Unconditional Love

Sometimes people can go a lifetime and not find someone to truly look up to. Sometimes, people will never find a hero to give them a different look of life. Luckily for me, I found mine two years ago.

By: Elissa Grossman

Published: January 14th, 2015 in News » World

Photo: Elissa Grossman with her hero, Esther Zeppieri

Credit: Elissa Grossman


Anyone who knew my Saba, Alexander Grossman, knows that he did more than "talk the talk," backing his dreams up with tremendous generosity and determination. Although my Saba passed away when I was 16, the flaming torch within me to give back to the community remained lit.

Four years ago, I started an event for UJA called Jam 4 Israel. The event ultimately raised $150, 000 to send over 370 children to camp in Bat Yam, Israel. By sending at-risk children to camp, I was able to help empower those children to push them to be their best.

That sense of empowerment is what one exceptional woman was able to do for me.

There is a voice in my head every day of a young doctor that always encourages me to tell the truth. A hero, to me, is two words and one name: Esther Zeppieri. Sometimes people can go a lifetime and not find someone to truly look up to. Sometimes, people will never find a hero to give them a different look of life. Luckily for me, I found mine two years ago.

Anyone who knows Esther knows that her family comes first. Although she only has four children, she is a role model to many, and a second mother to me. She is the woman I can call whether it’s 6 am or the middle of the night. She acts as the doctor who can cure my problems, big and small. She is the chef that makes me chicken soup to magically cure any sickness. She is the mother that calls hourly to check in if someone is sick, just so you know that she loves you. She is the community leader that sat on the board of Associated Hebrew School, while raising four children and working a full time job.

Most importantly, she is the role model that lets you know that everything will be okay just by her hug. She plays many roles and wears many hats, but because of all of these, she will always be a hero to me.

I know from my own mother and father that parents struggle daily to ensure that their children become motivated to succeed and intelligent enough to make positive decisions. As I grow older, I am confident that I am making my own parents proud by growing into the person that they want me to be, and this is thanks to the biggest lesson that Esther has taught me: unconditional love.

If by the end of this piece, readers can comprehend half of the endless love that she has given her family, her community, and the major influence that she has had on me - then my goal of sharing why she is my hero will be complete.

Esther taught me that being strong is not being fearless – it means finding the strength to persevere regardless of obstacles. It is her voice that helps me climb barriers that life throws. Six years ago, I injured my shins and ankle and required extensive therapy. It was Esther's motivation and love that encouraged me to train, every morning, despite the pain, and to sign up for my first 25 km run.

It is the power of her unconditional love that trumps the pain of training.

It is this knowledge of unconditional love that makes me want to help the Jewish community when they need someone to step up. It is this understanding that fed my desire to get involved with UJA this year on the new Run with Israel. For the first time, UJA will host a run this year that will take place in conjunction with the Walk with Israel. It is this one woman’s voice in my head, one of constant motivation, that helped me realize that no one is too young to make a difference or run an event. It is because of this woman that I can fearlessly lead various charity events. It is her influence of unconditional loves that pushes me to be the person that I am today.

This person is my hero because she gave me faith by believing in me. For anyone who knows Esther, they will validate everything that I've written here. For anyone who does not, I hope you get to meet her, because for all these reasons she is an extraordinary mother to five, a community leader, and a role model to me – always and forever.

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