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Sign of wonders

Friday, 10 January, 2014 - 12:40 pm

Once upon a time, our home was mostly the Chabad Centre; the Shul was on the main floor, and the Preschool/Hebrew School was in the basement. In between, there were living quarters for a young couple with two babies.

Shortly after our arrival, we ordered a nice sign to be placed in our front yard. “Chabad”, read the sign in large letters. 

Thank G-d, after a little while, the Shul wasn't fitting into the living room; the preschool became a full time licensed program, and our family also started to occupy more space. What stayed the same was the Chabad sign in front.

A few weeks ago, I realized that the sign had begun to fade away, and I considered that it was time to remove it. Our home is now mostly our family's residence, and we have acquired another space for Chabad. I decided to speak to Chani and let her have the last word.

That week, I got an email from Jonathan, a student that just arrived from Lyon, France. He wanted to know about Shabbat services and events, and he possessed a strong desire to get involved in the community. 

When I met Jonathan, he told me he attends Camosun College, and he rents a room on Richmond Road close to his school. A few days after his arrival, he took a walk in the neighborhood, and was stunned when he saw the ‘Chabad’ sign. He found us online and got in touch.

When he told me his story, it reminded me of a wonder that this sign created in our first year in Victoria:

A family from Toronto, that was considering a move to the Island, came to visit Victoria to check out the city. At the time of their visit, Chani and I were out of town, but we got to speak to the family on the phone.

 "We were taking a drive through the city", the man told me…."We were pleased with much that we have seen, but we were still concerned about how our children, who grew up in a Jewish environment, would be able to stay connected in Victoria where the Jewish community is so small. As we were driving through Lansdowne, we came across the Chabad sign. We had no idea that Chabad was in Victoria! I turned to my wife and said, 'if Chabad is here - our children will be OK."

We were blessed to have this family move to this city and enrich the community. Their children are a source of Yiddishe Nachas to their family and to us all.

If you happen to be driving on Lansdowne this afternoon, you may find me standing on the corner of Aldridge. I’ll be removing the ‘Chabad’ sign in front of our house, to replace it with a new and fresh one.

Comments on: Sign of wonders

Michael Friedman wrote...

Yasher ko'ach.

Rotem wrote...

Beautiful story! I am so glad you decided to keep it. It brings me joy to see the big Chabad sign up outside your house. Always present, standing tall. As should all of us as Jews.

Ruth wrote...

I am so glad you are not removing the sign! I didn't know there was Chabad in Victoria as I have lived on Pender Island for 9 years having moved from Montreal. One day, last year I was driving to visit my daughter who lives off of Foul Bay, and turning off of Shelbourne near Hillside, toward Foul Bay, I saw the Chabad sign in a drive way on the corner of Aldridge; I couldn't believe my eyes! I was so excited. When I returned home retracing the same route, the sign was gone, so I wasn't sure I had really seen it. Several other times I looked for it again thinking I must have got the wrong side street, when suddenly I saw it again. Even though I have not been able to make it to shul yet as I have chronic health issues that make getting out in the early morning difficult; I have made it to several events that have been held later in the day and evening, including attending some High Holy Days and Chanukah events; as well, both my daughter and her partner went skating for Chanukah.

Malca Casiro wrote...

Great story. Your family has made so much impact on this community. The sign is just an example of how much one doesn't really know the effect we can have on others.

Kelly wrote...

Thank you for sharing this story. It has reminded me to think deeper about how my decisions could affect others.


Elisabeth Gelb wrote...

Shavuah Tov dear Kaplan family,
This story resonates on may levels. Signs come in various forms; how we dress, speak, conduct ourselves and how our eyes gravitate to that which is meaningful, such as the unmistakable sign of Judaism, the Chabad sign.
Thank you for sharing this thought provoking story

Gerald Stanford wrote...

The sign continues as a blazing light showing Chabad as a Home, that your home cinues to radiate Chabad, Yiddische Heim und Licht for young children and old. Gerry