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Next Mission: July 2-7, 2024

Just One Shabbos

Just One Shabbos

Stories that started at Ohr Somayach’s Lakewood Mission – and will reverberate forever!

It Started with a Car Ride

Bennet, a student at Texas A & M University, heard that his Lakewood host was traveling in to Brooklyn on Sunday morning to visit his parents. “My friend Simon would love to visit Yeshiva Shor Yoshuv,” he said. “That’s not far from Brooklyn. Can he get a ride with you?” His host, Mr. Lercher, was eager to help.
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“I can drive him to Brooklyn, and I’ll get him an Uber to Lawrence,” he said. “He can either go there right away, or join me and my father for a learning session, and leave afterward.” Simon jumped at the opportunity to learn – and literally inhaled the Gemara, the third perek of Mesechte Bikurim.

“This was the best-spent hour I’ve ever experienced,” he said.

Simon first joined Ohr Somayach ten months ago, for two weeks. At that point, he began keeping Shabbos – and dropped his non-Jewish girlfriend. After October 7, his parents didn’t allow him to return to Israel, so he enrolled in Shor Yoshuv. Looking back, he recalls his first introduction to Ohr Somayach:
He asked his rabbi in Texas where to go to further his Jewish education, and the rabbi answered:

“The only place that will turn you into a true ben Torah is Ohr Somayach.”

Delighting in Donuts

“I hear Lakewood has a kosher Dunkin Donuts,” one college student, a self-proclaimed “donut addict,” said to his Ohr Somayach host. “That’s on my list of things to do in Lakewood.” Was he in for a surprise! In an amazing twist of hashgacha, his host was the Kaufman family – proprietors of Lakewood’s famous Bagel Nosh. Bagel Nosh is famous for its (roll out the sprinkles…) donuts!

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After a delightful learning session at Dr. Roberts’ shul, Dovi and Chevi Kaufman drove their guest and his friends to their store, where they were treated to a grand tour of the bakery. There, they got to taste donuts hot off the fryer, and watched Mr. Kaufman personally glaze and fill their treats.

“They were the best donuts I ever tasted,” the student said. “I couldn’t believe they weren’t dairy.”

Like everything else at the Ohr Somayach Mission, the impromptu trip to the donut factory was oozing with warmth and sweetness.

Who gained more? It’s hard to tell.

The P. family had never hosted before – and as a Chassidishe family, with no experience in kiruv, they were a bit ambivalent. But the timing was providential. It was exactly two years since Mrs. P. had had a stroke, and she felt that hosting Ohr Somayach’s mentees was the perfect way to thank Hashem for the miracle of her recovery.

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The family’s doubts quickly disappeared. Everything – from the learning packet, to their guests’ joy at each mitzvah – was incredible. As Mrs. P. said to her guests:

“Based on statistics, I shouldn’t be here. But the entire Jewish nation came together for me. Hatzalah, my family, the medical referral organizations, the gedolim who gave me blessings, and the entire Jewish community.” It was a poignant lesson to her family, who were, for the first time, involved in a different type of life-saving effort. They were part of Ohr Somayach – and giving precious Jewish boys a taste of their heritage!

“It’s hard to know who gained more,” Mrs. P. said. “Our guests, or my children, who saw such a thirst and joy for learning and doing mitzvos.”

The price of Shabbos
“I’m not giving up the zechus!”

Daniel, from Boca Raton, ate the Shabbos seudah with his host, Akiva Gontar. They were discussing the beauty of Shabbos, and Daniel said that he would start keeping Shabbos – after he figured out his finances.

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“What does working on Shabbos bring you?” Mr. Gontar asked. Daniel said he earns a much-needed $100. The response was instant.

“I’ll give it to you! Just keep Shabbos!” Daniel agreed, and Mr. Gontar began weekly payments of $100. Daniel, for his part, is keeping Shabbos.

“Whoever I tell the story to wants to sponsor a Shabbos,” he says. “But I’m not giving up the zechus! This is my mitzvah!”

Stories. Photos. Inspiration. Click the link below to see the Shabbos written up in Lakewood’s media.


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