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Unread 05-24-2006, 01:05 AM   #1
idahojew
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Newly observant, new Chassid


First let me say, this site is great!!! I only wish I could find more old geezers like myself, who have recently rediscovered our Jewish roots.

I am a 46 year old Jew here in Idaho that never really had a Jewish education growing up. I was from Hilo, Hawaii where only 5 Jews lived. Last year I met a Chabad Rabbi here and my life has changed like I never thought it could.

I spent all of my 20's and 30's sneaking into Synagogues and then leaving before anyone found out I couldn't read or speak Hebrew. Guess what? I read it now.

I am best friends with a 59 year old Jew here and he has a background as bad as mine. We both now own Tefillin, Tzitzit and kippas. We Daven everyday and I am just amazed by the Torah more every time I read from it.

You will probably not understand how a bunch of old Jews like us have been given a new lease on life because of Chabad and the Rebbe. Baruch Hashem.

I would love to hear from some other newbies and give an old guy a break, when you use a lot of Yiddis phrases, give us a hint at what they mean.

Thanks again,

Mordechai
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Unread 05-24-2006, 05:07 AM   #2
Yankel Nosson
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Welcome

Welcome to the forum, IdahoJew! Do you know Highway 12 from Lewiston to Lolo, MT? I had quite a journey on that highway about a decade back...

By the way, if you rearrange the sounds in the name "I-d-a-ho" you get "ho-d-i-a" which is Hebrew for "thanks" (as in giving thanks to Hashem). (And in a similar vein, the letters of Hawai'i are the letters of YKVK--the tetragrammaton.)

Welcome!
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Unread 05-24-2006, 06:38 AM   #3
idahojew
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Thanks Yankel

Toda raba for the welcome. We are planning the first semi kind of annual Idaho Jewish picnic/BBQ for June 11th.

We are inviting Jews from all over Idaho, of course I don't know how many that will be. We have a reformed Synagogue here in Boise, but they have some real anger against us for some reason.

If any of you have any ideas how we can reach out to them, it would be greatly appreciated.

By the way, we had the first Orthodox BarMitvah in the state of Idaho two weeks ago!!!!! .

I know I am not as educated in Judaism as most of you, but I am an MD, so I do have a little life experience. Don't get so caught up in what others say about us. Follow your hearts and minds. They are only trying to convince themselves, not you!!!

Thanks again,

Mordecai
PS. I will let you know how the BBQ turns out.
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Unread 05-24-2006, 06:54 AM   #4
Meshulam
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Quote:
Originally Posted by idahojew
I know I am not as educated in Judaism as most of you, but I am an MD, so I do have a little life experience. Don't get so caught up in what others say about us. Follow your hearts and minds. They are only trying to convince themselves, not you!!!
Congratulations on all of your recent successes. It seems like you have some real life experience in Judaism as well as in medicine. I'm curious what you meant by "what others say about us." Who are "us?" And what you others say about you?

Anyway, I'm impressed with what you're doing. Keep it up and we'll turn Idaho over. It will be the new New York... only much more pleasant.
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Unread 05-24-2006, 03:16 PM   #5
Chassidic1
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B"H
26, Iyar, 5766

Idaho,

Thanks for the inspirational story, and congrats on your return home < [ ; - )

About reaching out to the reform despite hostilities:

In Tanya (Ch. 12), the Alter Rebbe teaches that "a little light banishes a great deal of darkness." Advertise Chabad's event through eveyr means possible (posters, etc.). As a natural result, perhaps people's hearts will be drawn to this genuine Jewish experience, and (at least for some) the anger will melt away. The next event will thereby be that much easier.

May G-d grant you all much success
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Unread 05-24-2006, 08:46 PM   #6
idahojew
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Thanks for the warm welcome

I guess I was talking about how so many of us seemed to be so upset by some of the websites or chatrooms that tend to put down Chabad.

I totally agree with you. The Torah says that when we see a fellow Jew doing something wrong we should rebuke, rebuke him. Which means, look at yourself first. Why is it we saw the bad in someone first? Could it be we also have that flaw? Real food for thought.

I see a lot of fellow Chabad members upset by some of the frumteen websites that seem to spread lies about us. I kind of equate that to a hate fire. If we think of hate as a fire, we realize a fire needs fuel to burn. When we respond to those crazy type of accusations we only add fuel to that hate fire. I don't know of any hater that has ever stopped hating when we play at that level.

Having lived the vast majority of my life as a not very observant Jew I can tell you, I have hated, been hated, forgiven and been forgiven. As long as the hate was returned it only made mine more intense. If a man walked up to you everyday and hit you and you responded by fighting back, you have only justified his actions. If everyday he hit you and you did nothing but walk away, very soon that man would feel very foolish. I am not talking about someone who actually wants to do real physical harm by the way.

Many Jews who chose to live a less than observant life, really want justification for their lifestyle. They want to find a reform group or some other outlet to make them feel good about themselves. No one wants to think that their choices are wrong. That is one reason why they lash out at Chabad.

The funny thing about those hate websites is that if not one Chabadist responded they would soon dry up. It really is no fun to argue with yourself!!!

We have to strive to do our best and help as many of those Jews as we can. A little kindness goes a long way. It took me 6 months to walk through the door of the Synagogue for the first time. I was terrified, I knew I was a Jew, but I was so intimidated. Rabbi Mendel walked up to me and hugged me. I was shocked, how could such a learned Jew want to have anything to do with me.

He then said, " Lets go Daven" I felt like I was like dead man walking. We walked in and he handed me a Siddur. I stood next to an older Jewish man with a beard and Tzitzit. He was reading Hebrew like he had done it his whole life. I stood there looking at the Siddur and Hebrew like it was klingon. The older gentlemen looked at me and smiled and then he said "a year and a half ago I couldn't read Hebrew either"

That was the moment I knew I was home. The sound of the Torah in Hebrew made me shiver. I now know I have a Jewish soul and then is where I always belonged.

I guess my only advice is, don't despair. We only have to follow the Rebbe's teaching and advice. Remember when the Jews received the Torah from Hashem, what did we say? We said, " We hear and we will obey" We didn't say, oh well, we will try and if we agree with it, we will go with it.

My life is very different now, Baruch Hashem. I hope my limited experience in life can help just one other Jew.

Mordechai
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Unread 05-24-2006, 08:57 PM   #7
idahojew
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Thanks for the warm welcome

I guess I was talking about how so many of us seemed to be so upset by some of the websites or chatrooms that tend to put down Chabad.

I totally agree with you. The Torah says that when we see a fellow Jew doing something wrong we should rebuke, rebuke him. Which means, look at yourself first. Why is it we saw the bad in someone first? Could it be we also have that flaw? Real food for thought.

I see a lot of fellow Chabad members upset by some of the frumteen websites that seem to spread lies about us. I kind of equate that to a hate fire. If we think of hate as a fire, we realize a fire needs fuel to burn. When we respond to those crazy type of accusations we only add fuel to that hate fire. I don't know of any hater that has ever stopped hating when we play at that level.

Having lived the vast majority of my life as a not very observant Jew I can tell you, I have hated, been hated, forgiven and been forgiven. As long as the hate was returned it only made mine more intense. If a man walked up to you everyday and hit you and you responded by fighting back, you have only justified his actions. If everyday he hit you and you did nothing but walk away, very soon that man would feel very foolish. I am not talking about someone who actually wants to do real physical harm by the way.

Many Jews who chose to live a less than observant life, really want justification for their lifestyle. They want to find a reform group or some other outlet to make them feel good about themselves. No one wants to think that their choices are wrong. That is one reason why they lash out at Chabad.

The funny thing about those hate websites is that if not one Chabadist responded they would soon dry up. It really is no fun to argue with yourself!!!

We have to strive to do our best and help as many of those Jews as we can. A little kindness goes a long way. It took me 6 months to walk through the door of the Synagogue for the first time. I was terrified, I knew I was a Jew, but I was so intimidated. Rabbi Mendel walked up to me and hugged me. I was shocked, how could such a learned Jew want to have anything to do with me.

He then said, " Lets go Daven" I felt like I was like dead man walking. We walked in and he handed me a Siddur. I stood next to an older Jewish man with a beard and Tzitzit. He was reading Hebrew like he had done it his whole life. I stood there looking at the Siddur and Hebrew like it was klingon. The older gentlemen looked at me and smiled and then he said "a year and a half ago I couldn't read Hebrew either"

That was the moment I knew I was home. The sound of the Torah in Hebrew made me shiver. I now know I have a Jewish soul and then is where I always belonged.

I guess my only advice is, don't despair. We only have to follow the Rebbe's teaching and advice. Remember when the Jews received the Torah from Hashem, what did we say? We said, " We hear and we will obey" We didn't say, oh well, we will try and if we agree with it, we will go with it.

My life is very different now, Baruch Hashem. I hope my limited experience in life can help just one other Jew.

Mordechai
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Unread 10-28-2006, 08:28 PM   #8
lbrinin
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What a great message. This is my first message on this board. I too am old and just found a great chabad store front shul with a wonderful Rabbi here in St. Petersburg Florida. I had my first Succos this year what a great experience that was wow
Well now I am looking for Tefillin or Tfillin or whatever and finding it very hard to find a place I can trust. It seems very complicated and it's hard getting responses from web sites that sell tefillin
Thanks for your post
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Unread 10-29-2006, 02:49 PM   #9
Chaya_Tova
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I was told by a very well respected Rav that the gedolim endorse www.stam.net for mezuzot, tefillim and etc.
Hatzlacha!
CT
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Unread 10-29-2006, 09:50 PM   #10
Bittul
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idaho, you must mean Rabbi Mendel Lifshitz, your local Shliach! It's wonderful to hear from one of his locals. Welcome!
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Unread 12-15-2006, 04:19 AM   #11
idahojew
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You know Rabbi Mendel?

Rabbi Mendel has been a great influence in my life. You wouldn't believe how many Idaho Jews he has helped. He has a whole minion of us wearing Tefillin and Tzitzit now.

I am the happiest I have ever been. I love Hashem, the Torah and the Rebbe's teachings inspire me everyday.

I hope to spend the rest of my life becoming a better Jew. Thanks everyone.
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