Roving Rabbis: Spooked from Spokane

Sometimes G‑d taps you on the shoulder and smiles, and the only thing you can do is smile back.

Yesterday was our first day in Kenosha, WI. Just after we landed, Mendy (both of us are named Mendy) felt his cell phone vibrate. It was an unfamiliar number from Washington State. Now, we had gone roving in Washington together (read about that here), but that was two summers ago.

There was an old lady on the phone. She reminded Mendy that we had visited her home in Spokane, WA. She went on to say that since our visit no one had ever touched her as deeply as we had. She had been thinking about us for the past few days, so she decided to give us a ring—two years after our visit!

The past few months had been very challenging for her. She had been through a tough bout with cancer and had survived. Remembering that Mendy and I had encouraged her to light Shabbat candles on Friday evenings, she wondered if we could once again fill her in on the details. The true gentleman that he is, Mendy happily took it upon himself to call her every Friday afternoon to remind her to light the candles.

As the conversation progressed, she mentioned that she wanted to give some charity to thank G‑d for her recovery, but did not know where to find authentic Jewish humanitarian causes. Mendy suggested that she give to some charities in Israel that he knew to be doing good work.

After that phone call, we were floating on clouds, having just gotten a crystal-clear message that our meetings can often have a much stronger and longer-lasting impact than we could ever imagine. It was incredible to see G‑d’s hand in our work. For us, this really drove home the foresight and wisdom that the Rebbe had when he envisioned the Roving Rabbis program so many years ago. One visit with an isolated old lady in Oregon continues to bear fruit for years to come—and there are thousands like her all over the world.

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  • 1. shliach wrote:

    why didnt you tell her to give a donation to chabad of spokane, to the rabbi of the chabad center that payed for you to visit her? and why didnt you put in touch with the rabbi of chabad of spokane? there is something in this story that is very unsettling……

  • 2. Sara Shollar wrote:

    I find it most unfortunate that even after learning how much you impacted this person’s life (and only because she initiated the contact), you can only manage to refer to her as an “old lady.” While it’s a fact that we’re living in the age of chutzpah, this is disturbingly disrespectful. Would you find it objectionable if someone referred to your grandmother in those terms? And may I remind you that, with Hashem’s help, you will also one day be old. Is this how you would then like to be identified?


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