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Shabbat Dinner discovery

A few weeks ago we had a new beautiful family, who moved recently to Vancouver Island, as our guest for Friday night. Turns out it wasn't the first time our families met for Shabbat dinner... 

 It was shortly after I returned from the international conference of Chabad Rabbis, so we were discussing the number of Chabad Rabbis and their impact on Jewish life around the globe.

"Would you know all Chabad Rabbis?" Daniel then asked.

"Not personally, but many I know somewhat" I said, "why are you asking?"

"Would you know the Chabad Rabbis in Sweden?" he continued. 

"Which city?"

"Malmo" he answered. "I was there for Shabbat years ago and the local Rabbi very generously invited me to his home for Shabbat dinner..”

“Daniel” I said “This is my brother-in-law and family who had you over!”

Last time Daniel was at a Rabbi's house for Shabbat dinner was at the home of Rabbi Shneur Kesselman, Chani’s brother, who is serving as the Chabad Rabbi of the Malmo Jewish community...

Igniting Jewish souls

Two stories took place this week with the traveling celebration of Chanukah on Vancouver Island, that made it clear that this project is much more than sharing the light of Chanukah.

The first encounter was on Wednesday in Duncan.  Following the lighting for the 2nd night of Chanukah, people were still gathering around the Menorah, enjoying doughnuts, and meeting friends.  A woman who was passing by watched for a little while, and then ran right over to me.

"Do you have a Menorah and candles for me?" she asked.  

I was pleased to tell her that we would be very happy to share with her a full Chanukah kit.

"Thank you so much!" she said with a big smile, and added, "I was adopted as a child and I knew that my biological mother was Jewish, but I never had the chance to do anything with it.  When I very surprisingly saw a Rabbi and a Menorah in the middle of town I decided perhaps now is the time to develop my relationship with my roots".

Twenty four hours later we were at a very nice Chanukah celebration at the City Hall of Campbell River.  At the closing of the ceremony an older couple walked over and introduces themselves.

"My family was Jewish" said the woman.  "After the war I became Catholic.  When we saw in the paper the notice about the lighting my husband thought we should go.  I told him that as a survivor I have only bad memories of being Jewish, but he said that I needed to attend to pay respects to my family, especially to my grandparents who were very observant Jews.  I'm very happy we came", she concluded.

On the way out they stopped by our Chanukah table and picked up a Menorah and candles.

The lighting of the Chanukah Menorah is igniting Jewish souls.

Ripple Effect

Dear Friends,

Last week, on my last day in New York,  I ran to the hardware store to get tape for the boxes I was packing.  While picking up my tape I overheard an argument between the store owner and a customer.

The customer from Israel had purchased an electronic device at the store, and he came back to pick up a converter for the plug.  The owner wanted him to pay $2 for it, but the customer claimed, "You told me that this will work in Israel - you should just give it to me.  I don't have two dollars to spare".

Sensing that this argument could escalate, I took $2 out of my pocket and gave it to the owner, who seemed surprised.  The customer thanked me and left the store.

One hour later, I was on my way to Newark Airport in New Jersey.  I was using my phone as a GPS with voice navigation to help direct me to the airport.  Stuck in heavy traffic, not even out of Brooklyn, the battery died and I didn't have a car charger for my phone.

At the next traffic light I opened my window and tried to get the attention of the neighbouring driver.  "Sorry, my phone just died, I'm trying to get to the Holland Tunnel, do I take a left after the bridge?"  The African-American lady in the car managed to say yes, and then the light changed.

At the next traffic light her car was ahead of my'n, and she opened the window to extend her hand.  I saw she was holding two car chargers for Apple and for standard smart phones.  "Take what you need!" she screamed.

I jumped out of my car and took the correct charger, thanked her from the bottom of my heart for her generosity, and jumped right back into the driver's seat, to the amazement and astonished eyes of my children.

"This was so out of character for New York," I thought to myself.  Then, my encounter a few hours earlier at the store appeared in my thoughts.  No question this was a more generous act than mine, but kindness has a ripple effect and the ripples have a way of getting bigger...

I went to the Chabad conference in New York to charge myself, but while trying to charge my phone, I experienced generosity and care, and that left a great lasting impression on me.

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