-Communicated- I have had the privilege of working at Be’er Hagolah for many years. It was eight p.m. and the phone rang in my home. Tired after a long day’s work, I picked up and I heard a voice saying “Mazel Tov! I am so excited, my sister is engaged. Can you believe it?” I recognized the caller, Sara, a Be’er Hagolah student from long ago, now married with a family of her own.
Sara had attended Beer Hagolah’s elementary school, but when her parents saw that she was trying to keep Shabbos and keep Kosher, they pulled her out, and put her into a prestigious secular school. Ostensibly, Sara was enrolled in that school and graduated from there, but in truth, she never left Be’er Hagolah. She clung to her teachers, and came to Be’er Hagolah every time she had a free minute. She went to her teachers and teachers’ friends for Shabbos, and when she got married it was her Beer Hagolah teachers and fellow alumni who danced with her.
Her younger sister, however, never set foot in Be’er Hagolah. Her parents made sure of that.
Now, all these years later, I get this phone call. While I had kept in touch with Sara over the years, I never brought up the subject of her sister, not wanting to hurt her. And now, I was afraid to ask the question that was hammering in my brain. How could I find the right words to ask if her sister was marrying a Jewish boy? I just couldn’t ask. I was quiet, my heart was breaking.
“You know the boy,” Sara continued. “He lives in your neighborhood,” and she says the name and adds, “You know his family. They are one of the most chosheva family’s in town. Right?” And then she finally adds “Be’er Hagolah gets the credit for this shidduch. Had I not had Be’er Hagolah in my life, I could not have influenced my sister the way I did.”
We are taught that he who saves a life, it is as if he saved the whole world.
The next story came in a note to the school. “I am married to a wonderful man,” says Dr. N. Z., a Be’er Hagolah graduate. “And together we have built a home based on Torah values. “ “I think, “she continues, “that the most striking way of measuring how much impact Be’er Hagolah has had on our lives, is to ask my husband. I have heard him tell people that BHI has changed his life. Having come to Torah Judaism through his relationship with me, he attributes every aspect of his Judaism today to Be’er Hagolah. And I know, that for every tefillah, for every Shabbos and Shabbos guest, for every daf of gemarah, the credit is Be’er Hagolah’s.”
Dr. Z. sums it up best, “When an institution can effect changes in the lives of people like my husband, who have never stepped through its doors, you know that it and the people who dedicate their lives to it, are truly extraordinary.”
The two preceding stories – two of many, I’m sure- gives us a glimpse into how the staff of Be’er Hagolah seek to save one life at a time, over and over again. In effect, they are saving the world.