By Eddie Dvir
The more we hear about compassion, charity and kindness that billionaire New England Patriots owner, Robert Kraft does, the more we are impressed. Kraft is a true Mentch and his latest act of kindness is just another example of big heart.
Ezra Schwarz’s aunt, Rachel Deri, reached out to OS News with this amazing message of Hakarat Hatov (The Jewish duty to acknowledge kindness received from another.)
Deri also shared this picture which she called “bittersweet” because it was “without Ezra”
Pictured at the Super Bowl are Ezra’s parents Ari and Ruth Schwartz and their kids Mollie, Hillel, Elon, and Avi.
This is not the first time that Robert Kraft has shown his compassion for the Schwartz family. On 19 November 2015, an Arab terrorist opened fire at Gush Etzion Junction where he killed 3 people, including Ezra. The terrorist had procured over $10,000 in guns and ammunition and had been training for the attack for several months, assisted by several adults. He committed the murders to celebrate his birthday, the day of the attack. His mother later told reporters that she was proud of her son. At the time, Jews from all the world were questioning why President Obama did not mention anything about this, no flags were lowered to half-mast as they are with other American terror victims.
In stepped Patriots owner Robert Kraft who paid special tribute to Ezra when he issued a moment of silence and at a Patriots Monday Night Football game which was watched by 15 million viewers.
As if that was not enough, the billionaire personally paid a shiva call to to the Schwartz family the following night. Rachel Edri relates that at the shiva call, Kraft impressed the family with his knowledge of Yiddish. The family told Kraft how much the Patriots meant to Ezra and that he was in awe of everything Patriots related.
Kraft pays a surprise shiva call to the Schwartz family.
Kraft told Ezra’s parents that he knew how big a fan Ezra was of the Patriots and he knew how meaningful it was to his family and would have been to him that his memory was honored at the game. They relayed the wonderful memories of watching Patriots games together and playing football in their living room.
Kraft also penned a heartfelt letter of condolence to the family of Max Steinberg, a Golani unit American soldier who was killed in Gaza.
The letter which was framed by the Steinberg family reads:
It is with a heavy heart that I write to you after having learned about your dear son and distinguished member of the Israel Defense Forces, Max. Although I didn’t have the privilege of knowing your son Max personally, I have taken the liberty of reaching out to you since I noticed him wearing a New England Patriots cap in one of the broadcasted photos. He represents the consummate patriot and I am forever grateful for the sacrifices he made to keep our beloved Israel safe. His dedication and loyalty to Israel have not gone unnoticed and I am sure he has left behind a legacy of which you and your family can be proud.
On behalf of the entire New England Patriots team, please accept our most sincere condolences as we are all profoundly saddened by his untimely passing.
Beneath the printed text, there was a handwritten note: In Hebrew lettering, the words “b’ahava raba” (with great love) followed by the lines “‘We are all Patriots’ / With love of our tradition and the people of Eretz Israel.”
Kraft is also a huge supporter of Israel and routinely takes football players to goodwill trips to Israel, even during the height of the Second Intifada.
Kraft took Patriots players on the tours, including star quarterback Tom Brady in 2006 – who, though not Jewish, keeps a menorah that Kraft gave him in his Brookline home. These players in turn share stories and photos of Israel to their millions of fans with counterbalance all the negative press and opinions about Israel.
One of Kraft’s most distinctive philanthropic projects is supporting American Football Israel, including Kraft Family Stadium in Jerusalem and the Kraft Family Israel Football League.
In 2016, Kraft was awarded an honorary doctorate from Yeshiva University. In his commencement speech he said about his father. “Watching his son deliver the commencement address at Yeshiva would be far more rewarding to him than all of my Super Bowl successes combined.”
Robert Kraft is a true in every sense of the word, he supports Israel with not only money but with his goodwill trips with current NFL players and Hall of Famers.
He takes time out of his busy schedule to write letters to the families of fallen IDF soldiers and personally doing the huge mitzvah of nichum aveilim (visiting the bereaved) Kraft is nosei b’ol chaveiro ( carrying the burden of your people) by helping these bereaved parents find some comfort with his condolence visit and remembering them over a year later and flying them down to the Super Bowl to be his personal VIP guests at the Super Bowl.
As Ezra Schwartz’s aunt Rachel said, he has a “good neshoma” and is a true “mentch” in every sense of the word, it is not for us to say that her theory of the last minute miraculous turn-around in the Super Bowl is not somehow ordained from above, although quarterback Tom Brady did famously say “God, [there’s] got to be more than this” on “60 Minutes” in reference to winning his third Super Bowl. Kraft indeed deserves credit where credit is due. (Hakaras Hatov.) we just shared it with you, now share this story and the inspiration. G-d Bless you, Mr. Kraft!