I thought I was the only one…

The White Mountains are not exactly a hotspot of Jewish life.  But the “P’s” told us, “You’d be surprised- there are definitely Jews hiding in these woods.”  Indeed there are, though the numbers are certainly small and many have married “out.”

Twenty years ago the “W’s” moved to New Hampshire’s Mt. Washington Valley from Pittsburgh.  Mrs. W, who worked for a radio station, was feeling particularly isolated, so she paid for a radio ad at the station where she worked that said something like, “Are you tired of being the only one on your street without Xmas lights?  Do you consider bagels and lox to be comfort foods?  If the answer is “yes” and you’d like to go to a Shabbat dinner, call this number.”

Forty Jews showed up that Friday night at the W’s home.

The evening was such a success, that the group decided to have a potluck Shabbat dinner in a different home each month.  It’s been 20 years, and 30 people still get together for Shabbat dinner on the last Friday night of every month.

Here’s the real kicker:  at that very first Shabbat dinner, as the night came to an end, the delighted guests began taking their leave.  Each and every one said the same thing to the Ws:

“I thought I was the only one.”

The truth is, there are Jews “hiding” everywhere, whether in big cities or way out in the woods in the middle of nowhere.  To their credit, this man and his wife reached out:  look at the result!  They are not frum, they don’t even keep kosher, yet once a month on Friday nights for the past 20 years, they have 25 – 30 Jews from remote areas of the White Mts. connecting and interacting, singing a few Shabbat songs, sharing a Shabbat meal.

Imagine all the Jews who think, “I thought I was the only one. . .”

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