Much has been said about the sudden death of basketball great, Kobe Bryant.

The words we keep hearing are heartbreak, shock, devastating, hero and legend, inspiration and grief.

Our Princeton community had our own heartbreaking loss on December 24, when our beloved Rabbi Adam Feldman passed away suddenly while on vacation with his family in Hawaii. This left many, beyond the Jewish community, shocked and devastated. He maintained very close friendships with members of the Princeton Clergy Association, provided chaplaincy to the Princeton Police Department and to patients at Penn Medicine Princeton Health hospital.

He was a hero to Princeton Chief of Police Nicholas Sutter, who saluted as the hearse left The Jewish Center for burial. He has inspired his B’nai Mitzvah students, who have now been dedicating their Torah portion to him. As rabbi of The Jewish Center, he tended to the spiritual needs of 500 families, offering comfort and support during challenging times. Members of his congregation, who already miss him so much, are grieving the loss of a dynamic, energetic, engaged and very caring rabbi.

There were 1,000 attendees at his funeral and about 2,000 more who joined by live-video stream from all parts of the world. Quite a legacy for our local rabbi.

Rabbi Feldman adored sports, so he probably wouldn’t have minded being compared to a basketball legend, although he was a 76ers fan.

How to Cope with Sudden Loss

A message echoed from our community to news stories, the passing of Rabbi Feldman and Kobe Bryant serves as a reminder that anything can happen at anytime. Grief can be a challenging time, especially when it comes unexpectedly and without notice. 

  • Find a Support Group: Do not feel you have to cope alone. Find others to connect with and share in the grief process.
  • Do what feels right to you: Everyone processes loss differently and on personal timelines, if you are not ready to talk about the loss or join a group, then do not feel obligated. Always feel empowered to tell family and friends about how you are choosing to express your grief so they can support you in an appropriate way.
  • Write: You may find it helpful to write down your emotions or even write a letter to your loved one who has passed away. Writing is a safe space to express your range of emotions that can come with grief – sadness, anger, uncertainty.
  • Ask for help: Speak up to family and friends and let them know if you are having trouble processing your emotions. Look for resources in your community including support groups or individual therapy.

The JFCS team is here to support our community through challenging times with counseling and support. If you want to talk to a member of our team, call us at 609-987-8100.