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October 7, 2015 / 24 Tishri, 5776
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Kiddush Hashem And The Right Thing To Do


George finally opened the box, held the sweater in front of him and inspected it. Then he looked at us and said, “This is perfect. This is exactly what I wanted.”

I believe that this is exactly what Hashem would have wanted someone to do for this lost, forgotten soul. If anyone had seen two religious people giving this gift to a homeless man and the hug of thanks he gave us in return, it would have been a Kiddush Hashem. But even had no one seen our act, George knew what Jewish people had done for him. And even if he’d forget, it was still a good thing to do.

Postscript: Some time later, on a cold evening, I tried to get George into a Y so he could take a shower and spend the night. The Y needed some kind of identification from George – ID that he didn’t have. So I took him to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to get a non-drivers license. A clerk there told me that I needed proof of his birth. Pointing at him, I said to the clerk, “He’s standing there, living and breathing – that’s proof of birth!” But the clerk didn’t buy that line.

George, adopted and raised by a non-Jewish family, had a clear enough mind to tell me to write to the county clerk in Iowa in order to obtain his birth certificate. The last name I knew for him was a decidedly non-Jewish name given to him by the people who adopted him. But I would find out that his birth name was Miller – so there’s a slight chance that I was helping a born Jew after all.

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