I Was Sitting at the Bar When the Rabbi Said to Me…
No, it’s not the beginning of a joke. This past fall I was sitting at the bar of a Manhattan restaurant next to my friend, Adam Jacobs, who is a Rabbi at Aish Center, New York. We were having our first sips of a cold beverage to celebrate the premiere of his documentary, “Kabbalah Me” that Rabbi Jacobs co-wrote. Then suddenly the Rabbi said to me, “Aish Center would like to honor you with this year’s Jewish Continuity Award.” I actually laughed out loud. It was just hard to imagine why one of the most prestigious Jewish organizations in New York, had picked me.
Over the next few days I thought back to how I became connected to the Aish Center and the odyssey I have been on over the past 25 years, through 2 wives, 2 divorces and raising five children on my own, as a single father, for 18 of those years. I thought of how Judaism forced its way into my life and how I had found help and comfort from the timely advice and wisdom from Aish.
Lots of people have claimed divine intervention throughout history. Generals, presidents, dictators and athletes have said God is with them. However, when you live it, when it seems to come into your life at just the right moment, and when it unexpectedly protects or guides you, there comes a point when you become a believer. Aish has been my guide and my friend through the most difficult of times. Now Aish wanted to give me an honor. It should have been the other way around.
So I promised to deliver a 20 minute speech before 300 people at the Museum of Jewish Heritage which would tell my extraordinary journey in a way that might motivate and inspire. It did. I hope this has the same effect on you.