Miracles Dropping From Heaven! Chidon 5784

Thursday, March 28th, I had the honor of going on a trip with 10 beautiful girls between the ages of 9 and 13! These girls have been studying for a special contest – “The Chidon Mitzvot – The Mitzvah Contest.” Each year, from fourth grade and on, students from around the world study Maimonides’ take on the 613 mitzvos from the Torah. One of our own students from Ohr Temimim won a trophy on stage in her age category!

Although, I don’t yet call myself a senior, all of my identification and movie passes, as well as other documents betray this fact. Thus, the “Chidon trip” was quite exhilarating and exhausting, needless to say. The organizers packed in the program so intensely (See exhibit “A,” below). Trip Outline:

CHIDON TRIP OUTLINE:

5:30 Leave Buffalo Airport ✈️
8:00 Arrive @ 770 ⏰
8:30 Davening and rally 📖
9:20 Load busses 🚌
9:50 Busses leave to the event 🚌🎶
10:20 Busses arrive at the event 🚌🎶
10:45 Countdown ⏱
11:00 Regional game show 🎤
12:00 International event 🌍
1:15 Regional awards ceremony 🥇🏆
1:20-2:15 Busses leave for Jersey Lanes 🚌🎳
3:00 Bowling 🎳
4:00 Load busses 🚌
4:15 Busses leave to The Y
4:30 Supper and Mincha at the Y
5:15 Load busses
5:30 Busses leave to American Dream Mall 🚌
6:20 Arrive at American Dream Mall – go to changing rooms 🚺
6:30 Enter water park ➡💧
8:00 Leave water park ⬅💧
9:40 Flight to Buffalo ✈️

Since these children and their parents are friendly with me (we have a very small observant community in Buffalo), I feel a warmth with them. Additionally, the Chidon program, altogether, is dear to me. The TELLL Fund*, in memory of our parents, in its inception (my mother, a”h, was still alive at this time), donated funds to Ohr Temimim to purchase the textbooks for the first year for study for the program. In the subsequent years, the TELLL Fund donated funds for the purchase of all the Chidon books (“Yahadus” https://a.co/d/dKVM1Rk) During the week prior to the Chidon, I had given little gift bags to all of the girls. Each girl received a goodie bag with a note 💌 from me, a Chapstick, a pen, a cup for water fountains, some gum, packet of Kleenex, soft, “bootie” socks, several snacks, a healthy organic juice drink (that they were instructed to drink before TSA), etc. Additionally, I literally went shopping around to find soft, throw blankets that could be used as a while traveling on the airplane or on the bus or just to keep them at home as memento of this exciting trip. A couple girls, in fact brought their blankets with them.
*https://jewishphilanthropies.org/telll-fund

Before we went to the gate, the girls wanted to go to the shop. Verifying that their parents gave them some money, I offered to give each girl a dollar toward her drink and sent them to the refrigerator to choose. Following instructions, they each brought their drink to the check out, and stood respectfully in line. The checkout woman, sadly, was very sassy with a nasty attitude. When one of the children put out cash money in front of her, she yelled at her and said, “We don’t take cash here!”  The girl (and the others, who all heard) were taken aback. Certainly, the girls only had cash. I explained to the woman, they’re young girls, and their parents only gave them cash. Immediately, a very tall and stately looking man next to them looked at her very disappointedly, regarding the way she spoke to them, and he asked me, “Are you the in charge of this group?” I said, “Yes,” He said he would like to buy them all their drinks. I thanked him, but told him he didn’t have to do that. He said, “I want to, I have 10 grandchildren of my own, and when I saw how dejected they were, I decided that that was what I was going to do.” I thanked him and asked his name, and we all thanked Anthony. He told them to all go back and get their drinks. When they came back, and he paid for them! If we had had more time, we would have had a photo op. What an incredible gesture on his part, a beautiful kindness – that ended up in fact to be one of the miracles dropping from heaven. Once we finally got settled with girls switching seats (on a completely full plane), I ended up in the last row, 34. Considering what occurred on the flight, another miracle, was that fortunately, I was sitting next to the youngest child who knows me well. (You know that puzzle where you shift around the little tile and there’s only one empty space? I was in that empty space after everyone shifted around.) The flight attendant was directly behind us in the galley and came up to me and whispered, “Look. I’m letting you know; this is going to be an incredibly turbulent flight; I want to give you something for the girls since we’re not going to be providing drink and snack service.” She went back and picked up a beautiful ream of delicious biscuit cookies. I thanked her but told her that we keep strictly Kosher. She said she understood since she had lived in Williamsburg, which is a predominantly Satmar and other Hasidic, ultra-orthodox community! She wanted to know what she could give our well-behaved girls. I told her that since I asked the parents, I knew that none of my girls had allergies. I asked if she had some kind of nuts. She went back and got a whole service bag full of nuts which probably contained about 40 packages. With that amount, I could each give each girl four packages without blinking! The flight was probably one of the most turbulent ever (and I’m an avid and frequent flyer), I was at least additional support to the young girl who was next to me. Another miracle was “dropping from heaven” (literally – the plane 😇).

So you might think that was also another beautiful kindness that someone did for us, but it ended up that since it was no food service due to the turbulence, the girls would not have had a drink or snack from 3:30 or so in the morning until 8:30 when we arrived at 770 Eastern Parkway (the huge synagogue where thousands of girls were congregating for Davening and the preparations for the of the program)! Needless to say, since there was no snack or drink service, Anthony’s drinks and Alissa’s almonds on the house were a true G-dsend!

TO BE CONTINUED WITH… “More Miracles Dropping from Heaven!”

We love hearing from you, please feel free to leave your comments below.

With Gratitude,

Rus Devorah

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