Since I'm new to Novato and to blogging, I'd like to introduce myself. My wife, Adina and I moved to Novato five months ago, our goal being to establish a vibrant Jewish community and to cater to the spiritual needs of Novato's residents.
Boy, were we in for some fun! In these short months, we have witnessed countless miracles and have seen tremendous results. At our first holiday event, we had 85 attendees.
I'd like to share just one simple story that happened a few months ago. Waiting in line at Costco, I struck up a conversation with a fellow in line. Since it was Mother's Day, I understood why he was buying flowers. What I couldn't understand was why his cart was filled with them -- probably close to 100 bouquets. Being a curious person, I asked him in a joking way, "How many mothers do you have?" After thinking for a moment, he responded, "Eighty-five". Startled and confused, I asked him to explain. His name is John and he's the executive director of the Atria Senior Center, and was buying flowers for all the mothers at the home.
The conversation turned to my cart; I had nine folding chairs. He asked what they were for. I explained that I am the new rabbi in town and have established its only Jewish center. I was buying the chairs for our first holiday event the following week. I had already purchased 30, but the RSVP's were increasing, and, so, I was buying extra to accommodate the increasing number of reservations. He told me that he had read about us right here on the Patch, and was thrilled to meet me.
It came my turn to pay, and I pulled out my credit card. John rushed to my side and said "Rabbi, as a welcome to town, please let me donate these chairs. Although I am not Jewish, I want to contribute to your wonderful work here and be a part of it". For a moment, I was utterly speechless. Coming from Brooklyn, I wasn't accustomed to such treatment. I agreed. He swiped. If you've ever been to Costco, you will know that you need to show your receipt upon exiting the building. So, I happily waited for John, and we walked out together, where we exchanged business cards.
To show my deep gratitude, that Friday evening I went to his Senior Center and made a Shabbat dinner for about a dozen seniors. I will never forget the scene -- I was surrounded by people that lived through the Holocaust and witnessed their families perish. They fondly remembered the Friday night dinners in Germany and Poland where they lived. I promised that this would be the first of many Shabbat dinners we will do at the center.
The lesson I learned from this story is: good deeds are contagious. When you do one, it feels good and pulls you to do another one. And, you get other people around you to want to do one (or more) as well. I see it like a candle -- once you get one flame, it has unlimited potential. It can give light and warmth to millions of others. You just need to kindle one flame. We are so fortunate to be a part of Novato, and will do whatever we can to add warmth and spirituality to this wonderful city.
Thank you Novato!
Check out our events, articles and pictures at www.JewishNovato.com. Email me at Rabbi@JewishNovato.com