By Rabbi Rick Sherwin

A 30-second ad during the Super Bowl costs $5.4 million. This, of course, includes ads on behalf of politicians in this election year. Consider the mind-numbing cost of two or three ads per half! Political ads notwithstanding, I enjoy Super Bowl commercials. This year I watched with a new sobering awareness of the cost…

Nomi, who is completing her pediatric residency rotation in Eldorat, Kenya, was describing to me how children who would be routinely treated in American hospitals were denied treatment: clinics and hospitals are under-equipped, unable to offer financial assistance, in dire need of blood, etc.

In September 2019, the United States cut funding for Kenya’s state-run blood transfusion service (some argue that the cut was justified). Ironically, our country’s highest annual contribution to Kenya for blood testing and laboratory supplies over the past 15 years was $6 million, pretty much the cost of one 30-second ad!

Perhaps we might respond to our new-found commercial-awareness by donating blood locally, by contributing to medical services overseas, by supporting companies that donate medical equipment and supplies for poor countries, by asking Congressional Representatives and Senators to be mindful of how 30 seconds might save a mind-boggling number of lives.

If nothing else, we might simply watch the commercials with the awareness that we are incredibly blessed.


Rabbi Rick Sherwin, a graduate of UCLA, was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. Rabbi Rick’s passion is filling spiritual services and interfaith educational programs with creativity, relevance, dialogue, and humor.




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