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January 30, 2015 / 10 Shevat, 5775
 
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My Rebbe

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The start of the school year had already passed. Our youngest son was waiting for community leaders to determine what should be done for the students of his beloved school that had recently fallen apart due to lack of funds. The result turned out to be better than anyone could have ever expected.

Our youngest son Yossi is the only child in our family of nine that has been able to attend a single school, without interruption or change, throughout his educational experience. Due to the many times we had to relocate in the past, our older children were not afforded that luxury. We would often mention at home how fortunate Yossi is to know the same classmates for years and to not have to go through the difficult transition of attending a new place.

When we received the news that his school, with its wonderful staff and comfortable environment, would not be able to continue, we were heartbroken. Yossi had enjoyed the overflowing warmth and attention of his wise rebbe during the previous school year and then at a summer camp where the rebbe served as head counselor. We were already concerned about how our son would be able to adjust to the change of having a new rebbe in the 7th grade – even in the same school. Imagine how much more apprehensive we were about totally separating our son from his teacher by having to enroll in a new school due to the unfortunate and unexpected turn of events.

And then the most amazing thing happened. With help from Above we learned that our son would continue to benefit from the chinuch that only his rebbe, Rabbi Gadi Fogel, provides. The rebbe will be taking over our son’s class at his new school, helping his beloved students make the transition – together – to their new environment.

At the end of the school year our son presented his rebbe with a wooden plaque that read: “Rabbi Gadi Fogel, My Rebbe Forever!” Yossi chose those words. Little did he foresee the accuracy of his sentiment.

One cannot measure the value of inspiration given by teacher to child. May all of our dedicated teachers and rebbeim continue to have the strength and motivation to instill the love of Torah in future generations. The future of our nation depends on it.

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It is painfully difficult to start and end the hectic day seeing my daughter wander, almost lifelessly, from room to room and sibling to sibling with no desire to venture out into the scary world of society. With her bundle of strengths and weaknesses, and despite my countless pep talks, our 27-year-old daughter chooses to spend most of her time in the comfort and safety of our home. That is until recently, when terrible loneliness finally pushed her out the door.

I felt ill at ease in a strange way when our daughter drove off in our old Dodge Caravan to pick up my son from yeshiva. She was new at the wheel, and there was plenty of traffic to maneuver around in Lakewood on Friday afternoons. An innocent, precious neshamah in my eyes who didn’t belong on the busy roads, she wanted to help out. So when I was called later to the scene of the accident, the One Above seemed to confirm that my assessment had been totally accurate.

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