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Changing the World One City at a Time

Rachel Bachrach

What happens when women leave behind their safe and familiar communities to spread the truth of Torah to Jews who have never experienced Shabbos or heard about kashrus? To get an inside look at today’s kiruv world, we’ve posed five frank questions to four dynamic kiruv wives.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Hudy Abrams is the codirector and rebbetzin of the Jewish Learning Center, a branch of DATA (Dallas Area Torah Association).

She and her husband, Rabbi Shlomo, are based in Far North Dallas, Texas.

 

I knew I wanted to work in kiruv

… when I was dating my husband. Throughout high school, I had this feeling I wanted to make a difference, but I didn’t know how. When we were dating, my husband was talking about moving out of town and making a difference — it totally clicked!

We lived in Eretz Yisrael, and we trained under Rav Yitzchak Berkovits and Ner LeElef — they really instill you with that sense of responsibility for Klal Yisrael.

My husband gave a class in a community we were checking out. Afterward, a young kid with long hair came up to him and asked, “Are you a rabbi?” My husband said, “Yes, I am.” And then the boy said, “I thought all the rabbis were dead.” That made what we’re doing, and why, totally clear.

 

I had second thoughts …

… never. But there have been oh-my-gosh-what-did-I-get-into moments, like the first Shabbaton we made here. It was all set — the tables, the food, everything — and one family showed up. One. My husband took the man to daven. I went with the mother and kids into the toy room, and I was singing Shabbos songs at the top of my lungs, pretending there were 25 kids there. But inside I was thinking, This is crazy. We’ve grown since then — no more one-family Shabbatons — but I’ll never forget it.

 

I knew it was all worth it …

… when one woman acknowledged the effort. I take groups of nonobservant women toIsraelwith Lori Palatnik’s Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project. A couple of years ago, I brought my infant twins, and it was exhausting. I remember wondering if it was worth it. In the airport, one of the women — it had taken me three years to convince her to come — hugged me and whispered, “Thank you for not giving up on me.”

 

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