Grapevine December 11, 2020: Inspiring anecdotes

The movers and shakers in Israeli society

Facebook symbol  (photo credit: REUTERS)
Facebook symbol
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Many of us read Facebook items on our cellphones, where posts are far more numerous than what we receive on our PCs. It’s a great way to come across delightful stories.
On the 'Only in Israel' Facebook group, Jonathan Kestenbaum writes that he was parked in the underground parking lot of Osher Ad on Shamgar Street, in an Orthodox neighborhood. When he returned to his car, there was a note on the windshield. “I accidentally scraped your car on the left side in the back. Please call me.” There was a number listed and Kestenbaum duly called when he got home. He admits that without the note, he doubts whether he would have seen the damage.
The man who answered the phone apologized that he was busy preparing a brit milah for his son, asking whether he could call Kestenbaum back after Shabbat.
Kestenbaum wished him mazal tov and said the problem wasn’t urgent. The man then invited him to the brit, saying he wanted to honor him for being so understanding and allowing him to focus on what was immediately important.
Then there was an anecdote by Becky Raye, who had called the Israel Museum gift shop to ask if it is open on Fridays, because she wanted to purchase something for her soldier daughter.
The man who answered the phone told her the shop is closed Fridays, but that he was willing to take things home for her to pick up: “If it’s for a soldier who gets home only for Shabbat, we’ll make it work."
Galia Joe Berry saw a man giving out sandwiches to people in need at the shuk. She gave him some money as charity, and he immediately passed it on to someone to whom he was giving a sandwich.
Terri Kalker was driving her husband to Ben-Gurion Airport for his flight to New York. The ticket had been purchased well before the lockdown. En route, they were stopped at a checkpoint and the female police officer asked where they were headed.
She then asked how they were leaving. “By plane,” Kalker answered sarcastically. That wasn’t what the policewoman wanted to know.
“How did you get permission?” she asked, adding: “My family couldn’t.” She wanted to find out if Kalker had protekzia.
■ AISH HATORAH also published a heartwarming story last year, telling of a Jerusalem man attending daily services to say kaddish for his deceased mother.
Returning home one night from a wedding, he fell into bed exhausted and suddenly realized he had not said Maariv. It was 3 a.m. – where was he going to find a minyan? One can always find a minyan day or night in the shtiblach in the Orthodox neighborhood of Zichron Moshe. But as luck would have it, that night the synagogue was totally deserted.
The man then called a taxi company and asked that six be sent to the shtiblach; that early, the dispatcher had only five.
“Okay, send five,” said the man. He then called another taxi company and asked for another five cabs. This time he was told that only four were available. “Okay, send four,” he said. Within 20 minutes, there were nine cabs lined up outside the synagogue.
One of the drivers asked why he needed nine taxis when there was no wedding or other celebration in sight.
The man asked them all to turn on the meters of their cabs and to come into the synagogue to join him in reciting kaddish for his mother. Not all knew exactly how to follow the service, and he helped them here and there, but they got through it. When they finished, everyone went outside. The meters all showed sums in excess of NIS 90.
The man took out his wallet and asked the first driver how much he owed him. “What do you take me for?” responded the driver. “Do you honestly believe I would take money from you, after you just gave me an opportunity to help a fellow Jew say kaddish?” And so it went down the line. Every driver refused payment. Then they all embraced, got back into their cabs and drove into the dawn of a new day, looking for paying customers.