The past week has been action-packed! We roamed the streets of Harrisonburg, Virginia, popping into offices, law firms, coffee shops, banks, and shopping malls. Finding Jews is a difficult task, but we have seen Divine Providence at work--meeting random people in random places who have connected us to many Jews, thank G‑d!
We met a nice non-Jewish man, who introduced us to the superintendent of the public school system in Harrisonburg, a Jew originally from Brooklyn, and we set up a meeting with him.
guy we encountered in a motorcycle shop told us about a Jewish family who own a
car dealership in town. That was a home run! We met the father first, and
talked with him for two hours about his Jewish experience. He shared some
amazing stories. We put on tefillin with him, his first time since his bar mitzvah.
A few days later, we got to know the rest of the family, spending several hours
at their home. They spoke about life in Harrisonburg, and we told them about
our journey to Chabad, and the power of the Jewish soul. One of the sons even
agreed to put on tefillin for the first time in his life!
We also met a local Jewish radio talk-show host, who actually grew up in an Orthodox enclave in Queens, New York, and attended yeshivas throughout his childhood. Although he is no longer affiliates with that community, he always takes off work for the Jewish holidays. Our meeting brought back fond memories from his past. He put on tefillin for the first time in years and gave some charity—two small acts, two giant steps...
We came across another Jew in the quaint town of Staunton, VA. He was the director of a unique camera museum, which documents the history of camera development via original cameras from the 1800’s and 1900’s on display. He was thrilled to give us the grand tour, and graciously agreed to give some charity.
Also in Staunton, we met a Jew who is the co-founder of the American Shakespeare Center (ASC), and Professor of Shakespeare and Performance and founder of the masters program at the local university. He was happy to chat with us about growing up as a Sephardic Jew in Alabama.
On schedule for this week—an appointment with the head of the School Board who is also a professor at James Madison University. He's very well connected and influential in the Jewish community, as well as the voice of education in Harrisonburg.
When we arrived in the Shenandoah Valley, we were fully aware that finding Jews would be like mining diamonds in the rough. Two weeks in, we are humbled and gratified that as the Rebbe’s emissaries, it often feels that we are merely serving as conduits. May these mitzvot that we merited to facilitate, performed with the utmost sincerity, tip the scales to reveal a world of eternal good!