The flight from JFK to Boston's Logan was as short as they come. The cabby was friendly, and after a few right turns and a few left turns, he informed me that we had arrived at 45 Portina Road. I stared at the house. Simple, quiet, unassuming. Little did I know...

She was just a girl on a train. A bright, opinionated girl from Israel on a train in Boston, where she was a student.

When she saw the man with the beard, her mind began to race.

She thought of societal rifts, of cultural discord, of needless enmity, of the inability of two people who have so much shared history to connect in any meaningful way.

And then he smiled.

It was a smile that would change her life. But for now it shattered her preconceptions.

She approached him and started to talk—about societal rifts, cultural discord, needless enmity. He listened respectfully, smiled kindly. Before exiting the train, he handed her a piece of paper. She stared at the paper. There was an address: 45 Portina Road.

When I heard how my uncle Leibel would spend his Thursday evenings, my eyes opened wide with wonder, and my heart filled with awe.

On Thursday evenings, Leibel would head to the local supermarket. He would take out his small notebook, the kind with the coils at the top, and write on page after page: “Rabbi Leib & Leah Scheiner, 45 Portina Road, Brighton, (617) 254-8240.” Then he would walk the aisles, find Jewish people, tear off a page, and invite them for a Shabbat meal. He was once spotted roaming the supermarket with an empty cart. Someone asked what he was up to. He replied, "I'm shopping for Jews."

And they came. Students and teachers. Fathers and daughters. Brothers and sisters. They came because they had caught a glimpse of something extremely rare, and they wanted more. They had seen truth. Where does one find truth these days? 45 Portina Road.

How did Leibel Scheiner end up on Portina Road? The Lubavitcher Rebbe sent him there.

Leibel enjoyed a special relationship with the Rebbe. Once, the Rebbe lamented at a farbrengen that no one asked him questions about his teachings. That night, Leibel ran around the house, pulling out all sorts of scholarly books. He composed a letter. The next Shabbat the Rebbe mentioned that someone had asked him questions.

When you'd ask Leibel a question in halachah (Jewish law), he'd tell you that he had to look it up. Once, a student called his bluff. "But you know the answer," the student insisted. "You should trust yourself more!" Leibel nodded in humble affirmation. "Yes," he admitted, "that’s what the Rebbe told me."

But now it was time for me to get out of the taxi and enter the shiva house. My uncle Leibel had passed away.

I never knew how great he was. So long as he lived he made certain that no one spoke of him. But now the stories flowed, a healing salve on an open wound.

One week before Leibel passed away, the doctors informed the family that he was in his final hours. He recited the Viduy confession and asked for the Code of Jewish Law. Slowly, painfully, he began to recite the laws and customs of mourning, lovingly imparting to his children how to observe his passing in accordance with halachah.

At the shiva house I met the girl from the train. Now a woman. A mother. Living in Israel. She had flown to Boston to honor her teacher.

She told me that Leibel never urged her towards observance. He simply led by example. His example was too powerful to ignore.

She pointed toward a table in the kitchen. "To him," she explained, "G‑dliness was as that table is real for you and me."