We have chosen to help fund the launch of PJ Library in South Africa in memory of our niece, Daniella Moffson, because we believe it is the embodiment of Daniella – bringing joy to children coupled with the love of Judaism.
Daniella was deeply dedicated to working with young children, often those vulnerable due to cancer or disabilities. She set out to inspire these children to see the beauty in Judaism. She also volunteered to help South African HIV/AIDS orphans. Her true dedication to help children transcended the bounds of her community and religion. Consequently Daniella became a committed and hardworking student who set out to pursue a career in medicine at Barnard University in New York.
Her ultimate dream was to become a pediatric oncologist – precisely to help children at their most vulnerable time, alleviate their pain, or just put a smile on a child’s face. At a personal level, Daniella was very committed to travelling to South Africa to spend time with her family and to connect with our country.
The tragic irony is that she was taken from us while pursuing her interconnected love for children and Judaism. While volunteering in Honduras, Daniella was tragically killed in a bus accident at the mere age of 21. Daniella swapped seats on the bus in order to sit near a window while davening - this seat change cost her her life but saved another.
Her tragic death sparked a light within us, a light that inspires us to do more, be better, and help those around us. Through her death, we learned about all the good deeds Daniella performed, not just the formal volunteer work but her day-to-day care and love for humanity. Daniella was never one for affirmation or acknowledgement of her good deeds. Daniella did the right thing not for social acceptance but because she had the innate ability to know what was important in life – something we are inspired by and try to learn from every day.
Although her life was cut short, she truly gave meaning to those 21 years and made a significant difference in the lives around her. This has framed our unending passion to perpetuate her memory. We are so pleased to help bring PJ Library to South Africa, a country with a special Jewish community and one Daniella connected with personally.
Daniella has taught us the simple but crucial lesson of the importance of putting a smile on a child’s face. We believe education, Judaism, and community are the key ingredients to give meaning to her memory.
We are honored to be part of PJ Library.