I want to add a comment to this post – remember they guy from the end of the story? Who said it was his best Shabbat ever and started learning and loving zemirot? So the day after I posted the story, when walking home from work (I happened to go a different way that day) I saw that guy standing on the street corner! He happened to be there waiting for someone else, and he was just as surprised and happy to see me. We caught up a bit from the summer, and reminisced of our good times last year. He told me that he’s been learning harmonica and one of the first songs he learned was “Kah Ribon”, and that he was looking forward to some Jewish jamming when we got back to Penn. He also said he was talking with another friend (Jewish, but not observant, whom I met when he began coming to Hillel) and they both were wishing they could come to my house for Shabbat over the summer! I told him that they really should’ve, and that next summer I’m making them come, even if they don’t build up the courage to ask. After speaking for a while, his other friend came and we parted ways, promising to meet up when we got to Penn.
The reason I wanted to share this story (even though I’m reluctant to share personal stories) is because that is why I do all of this. That’s why I’m telling these stories, writing guides, making brochures, going on speaking tours, fund-raising, etc – just so I can meet and become friend with people like this, and so other people will do so too. That’s all I really care about and all that I want to do, give people meaningful, personal connections to Judaism and other Jews. Which is why I’m excited to get back to school tomorrow, so that after all this talking, thinking, and planning, I could go and meet new people, reconnect with old friends and share some good ol’ Judaism with Jews. That’s what it’s really all about, and there’s nothing better 🙂 So yeah, I’m a bit nervous and feeling pressured about the coming year – but in a good way, with all of its potential and knowing that with God’s help, things will only continue to grow.