Apr 9, 2013

Heartwarming Tales of Chassidim

The sudden death of the Glaubers was shocking and tragic.  A ray of light within the darkness was how positively this Satmar family came across in the secular press.  The husband was described as calling his mother daily to see how she was (she had given birth two weeks before the accident).  And in later news items, a letter that he wrote to his parents on his wedding day was publicized.  It was beautifully written.

This probably did not fit the stereotype of Chassidic men.  It was heartwarming to see something favorable written about "ultra-Orthodox, Chassidic" Jews when, sadly, they are more typically written about in negative ways.

Around the time this happened, someone told me a beautiful story, also one that breaks the stereotype of the Chassidic Jew in Brooklyn.  Shortly before Shabbos, a man noticed a woman standing on the corner of a Boro Park street, looking bewildered.  Although he is the type of person not to notice his own daughter on the street, he went over to her and asked her what she was looking for.  The woman said she was looking for a locksmith in order to make a Shabbos key.

He explained that all stores were already closed as it was almost Shabbos and did she have a place for Shabbos? She said she did, but gave him her card and said she'd be very interested in coming for Shabbos.  She told him that she was a gentile studying to become a Jew.

The man actually followed up, which I find so impressive.  He called her rabbi who affirmed that she was sincere.  He emphasized that she needed to be among frum Jews and spend Shabbos, etc. with them.  The man invited her and she subsequently came numerous times for Shabbos and Yomim Tovim.  She eventually converted (this goes back ten years) and married a baal teshuva.  She lives in Brooklyn and has three children.  The girls attend one of the Beis Yaakovs and the boy is entering the Mirrer yeshiva.  And it was a Chassidic man, who generally doesn't look at women, who extended himself when he saw someone who needed help.

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