My journey to a more observant life brings with it many “aha” moments. What makes the journey so spectacular is being able to clearly see G‑d at work.

Having come from a family that followed religion by observing only the High Holidays,Not driving on Shabbat was one of my first steps following the Jewish law regarding the rest of the holidays was new to me. The idea of not driving or working on any Jewish holiday was not something I grew up with. For me, observing the annual holiday meant going to a conservative synagogue, by car, listening to a very loud rabbi talk and hearing a melodic cantor’s singing, all the while looking at my watch hoping the time would pass.

Once I began my journey to a more observant life, not driving on Shabbat was one of my first steps. Slowly, I began to attend services on all Jewish holidays. The difficult step for me to take was to not work (or drive) on them. That took years to accomplish. Finally, in 2017, I decided that I would no longer work on any Jewish holiday. Of course, until I ran into a major roadblock ...

One of my work assignments is to teach an 11-week course on Sunday mornings to high school students, as long as enough students enroll in the class. This becomes a challenge every semester the course is offered. Will there be enough students so the class can run and I can earn some money? (No class, no salary.)

After a string of semesters with low enrollment, I became used to the process of waiting until the last few days before the class is scheduled to begin to receive a definite answer whether or not the class would be held. That didn’t bother me. The difficult part became the weekly and sometimes biweekly updates from the program director, notifying the faculty on class-enrollment tallies as the end of each registration period approached.

This past spring was the most challenging of them all. Each week—from the time the registration period began until the end of the registration period—I received an email from the program director saying, “Dear Renee, your enrollment is 0.” She even went so far some weeks to write, “Dear Renee, your enrollment is ZERO.” As the weeks passed, I ultimately resigned myself to the fact that I would not be teaching the class that semester. By the time the last of her emails reached my inbox, I was resigned to that fact.

On theThe only acceptable reason to miss one of the classes was an emergency last day of registration, a Friday, an email arrived saying, “Dear Renee. You have 4 enrollments that came in the last 2 hours of registration. We will hold registration open until Monday and I will let you know then if your class will run.” I laughed to myself, and right away knew that G‑d had stepped in. I felt confident that the class would take place. On Monday, the email arrived, “Renee, you have 8 students enrolled. Your class will run.” I thanked G‑d.

It was at that point that the roadblock appeared. I looked at the calendar and saw that Shavuot fell on the last Sunday of the class. Now that I had made my decision not to work on Jewish holidays, it became an issue (in this particular case, calling in sick was not an option). According to the contract of employment, the only acceptable reason to miss one of the 11 classes was an emergency. I considered telling the director that I couldn’t take the assignment. (I even considered calling in sick anyway.) Instead, I decided to teach and put my faith in G‑d. Some part of me was confident, though another part worried that I was being dishonest by not letting the school know that I couldn’t work on the last Sunday of the class.

The first session arrived, and true to form, the door to the classroom was locked because it housed computers—one per desk, totaling at least 50 of them. On my way to the classroom, I was stopped by four young men who said to me, “Excuse me, do you know where the Digital Interactive Marketing class is?”

“Yes, sure,” I replied. “Follow me, you must be my students.” They smiled broadly, and we walked to the classroom. By the time we got down the hall, they had already informed me that they were from a yeshivah in Brooklyn, N.Y.

G‑d was clearly at work.

Seven out of the eight students were from a yeshivah in Brooklyn. Never before had yeshivah students enrolled in my class.

Promptly after taking attendance, a lively discussion ensued about the Jewish holidays and which ones fell on a Sunday. Shavuot, of course, was one of them. The students announced that they would not be in class that last session. I quieted them since one student was not Jewish, and I didn’t want her to feel uncomfortable.

That wound up not helping so much anyway; during the break that day, the non-Jewish student transferred to another class, leaving me with seven yeshivah students. I chuckled to myself, somehow not surprised.

And itSeven out of the eight students were from a yeshivah in Brooklyn didn’t end there. On my way out of school, I saw the director, and she said, “I heard your students will all be absent on the last day of class.”

“Yes,” I responded.

“Then I guess you won’t be holding class that day,” she said, adding, “but we will pay you anyway.”

Since then, students from that same yeshivah continue to enroll in my class. Not only was the road unblocked, it seems that a passageway has been built, bringing my faith to a higher level.