Bradley Rossel shines as a community leader.
by Alicia Wanek
A shooting star is described as a meteor that glows as it moves through the atmosphere. In Bradley Rossel’s acceptance speech for the Chesed Award from Chabad of Plano, he likened, what he calls, the “shooting stars” in basketball to the other men he was honored with that evening, Dr. Cary Israel and Supreme Court Justice Richard Bernstein. However, the fact that he was being recognized for the shining example he sets as he goes through life making an impact on everyone he meets, makes him the embodiment of a shooting star.
The galaxy of stars surrounding his own bright light are the members of his amazing family. Bradley was born the first in a set of triplets. His sister Ilana came second and his brother Jeremy third. Forty-one years ago, that was an especially unusual event. It became apparent pretty early, however, that Bradley would have some special challenges, but they haven’t slowed him down, thanks in large part to the support of Ilana and Jeremy. His mom Beverly says, “Their support has brought him to where he is today.” Growing up, he was treated just the same as his siblings, and they were very protective of Bradley. Beverly says, “He was ‘mainstreamed’ in our family.” Jeremy’s and Ilana’s friends “engulfed” him, too. Beverly says, “If you weren’t friends with Bradley, you weren’t part of the group.” To this day, the triplets are extremely close.
When Bradley was recognized at the Chabad of Plano “Gathering of Inspiration” event on April 17th for his tireless efforts as a volunteer with Jewish Family Service, over 40 family members came to show their support for “Uncle Moo.” Family from as far away as Maryland and Illinois flew in for his big night, and everyone agreed that he’d earned all of the accolades. His Brother Jeremy says, “I’m very proud of him…I enjoy when he is recognized for his own efforts.” His sister Ilana says, “I wish the world for my brother and couldn’t think of anyone who deserves the recognition more. It just validates all he’s done.”
The award is given annually to someone who lives out the qualities of “chesed.” Chesed is a Hebrew word that is often translated as loving-kindness. According to Jewish Family Services executive director Michael Fleisher, Bradley is the “personification of a volunteer” for their organization and shows love and kindness every day he is there. Bradley’s responsibilities include stocking the food pantry, assisting with special events such as diaper drives, helping in the resale shop, and calling to remind people of their appointments. Michael says it’s not just his dependability and strong work ethic that they appreciate, but it’s also his “can do will do” attitude, always with a smile, that makes him even more appreciated. In his remarks after Bradley’s award was bestowed, his dad Cary said, “His love of life is infectious, and his smile is contagious.”
In presenting the award, Rabbi Menachem Block related the message of Passover. “You could have easily slipped into the role of recipient, taking the help and support from your loving family and friends,” said Rabbi Block, “Instead you escaped your limitations and became … a true giver of kindness. In everything you do, you inspire all of us to scale the walls of our limitations, and access the true freedom that is achieved by being the best person that we all can be.”
For Bradley, though, it’s all about selfless giving. He says, “I like to help out. I like to help everybody.” He is quick to point out that JFS supports people in need from all denominations. He also has participated in Special Olympics, mostly basketball, since the age of twelve and has since gone on to go through all the training to be a coach and mentor. Each year he and Jeremy go to Houston to participate in the Texas Special Olympics. That selfless spirit became evident again when, as he ended his speech, he said, “Before I leave tonight, I want to tell you to please give your time and become a volunteer like me, or donate food, or money, or anything you want to Jewish Family Service.” Ultimately, he will never stop passing his light on to others.