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"Shehecheyanu"

photo (8).JPGAs I was preparing the route for the Sukkah Mobile for next week, I remembered one of the highlights of our Sukkot visit last year. I don't think I'm going to forget the face of that man. 

The Sukkah Mobile was parked in Cowichan Bay, right next to the water, where a couple of Jewish people from the Valley were schmoozing and getting ready to climb up to the Sukkah.

From the corner of my eye I saw a man walking slowly towards us with incredulous eyes. I remember seeing him actually rub his eyes and after a moment of shock, he hastened his pace. "What?! Jews on this Island? A Sukkah here?! And you also have a Lulav and Etrog?!"

A moment later this Israeli man, was holding the Lulav and Etrog, in the Sukkah. I don't think I ever heard someone saying a Bracha on the Lulav with such joy and excitement. I think I saw a tear slide down his cheek when he said: "Brauch Ata.. Shehecheyanu vekiyemanu vhigianu lizman hazeh" (Blessed are You... who has kept us in life, sustained us, and brought us to this day).

Relinked after 4 generations

 Dear friends,

I have been contacted this week by a Jewish community organizer in Comox, writing to me "I have been corresponding with and meeting a young woman who wishes to convert to Judaism. While I can provide for her many links to study, information, education and things to consider.. there is nothing like the contact with a full Jewish community... May I connect her with you for further assistance?

The next morning I received an email from Vanessa, "I don't know exactly what you want to know, so I will tell you a little about me and my journey. When I was a teen, I discovered my family has Jewish roots. I have always been ambivalent about committing to a religion, but have always sought to maintain a relationship with G-d. Recently, I have found myself drawn to my Jewish roots, learning about them and Judaism in general. I have two small children, so I have the added burden (or blessing?) of providing them with a relationship to G-d. My family is Christian, and while I have no problem with it personally, I feel moved, compelled and inexplicably drawn to Judaism".

A quick correspondence with Vanessa had discovered that her great-great grandparents, her mother’s mother's mother’s parents were Jewish. Minutes later I was on the phone with Vanessa "I would like to tell you that you have no reason to convert; you are 100% Jewish, no less than Moses...; according to Jewish law only the maternal side matters to define the Jewishness of a child, and being that your maternal great grandmother was Jewish - you are as Jewish as could be!"

The excitement on the other side of the phone was evident. "My grandmother will be so thrilled that I'm reclaiming her faith" she said, "your faith", I corrected.

Next month when we will be visiting Comox with the Sukkah mobile – there will be three new customers, a mother and her two children. The 5th generation will be celebrating Sukkot once again.

From Victoria to the world

Following the post of the High Holiday Services video clip, I have received great feedback which I'm very grateful for, but there was another response which I have not anticipated.

photo.JPGIn the video, I introduced the page sign, which we designed in Victoria, to be used in our shul to help congregants know the page the chazan is on so they can follow along in Hebrew or English.

Since I posted the video on YouTube two days ago, I have been contacted by over a dozen Rabbis who have come across it and wanted to know how they can order one for their shuls. Rabbis from as close as Vancouver and Spokane, as well as rabbis from places like Nuremberg, Luzern in switzerland and Shanghai in China expressed interest. 

I spoke to the carpenter and we are planning to, G-d willing, mass produce it and sell it to shuls across the globe. I'm amused by the thought that our little shul will provide tools for synagogues around the world... 

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