A field trip to Kabooms Amusement Park was an opportunity for the staff and campers of Camp Gan Israel Miami to do Mivtzoim with other park visitors.
The group met a Reform Jewish camp, and offered the campers to put on Tefillin. Many of the campers agreed, and two of them had a “Bar Mitzvah,” as they had never put Tefillin on before.
On their way out of the park, the camp’s Assistant Director Leibel Khazanovitch and counselor Eli Weiss met a 91-year-old man. They sparked a conversation with him and heard that he is indeed Jewish.
Would you like to put on Tefillin, they asked.
The man agreed and began tearing up.
He said the thought of Tefillin brought back memories of his childhood days in Yeshiva on New York’s Lower East Side.
“As a child my friends nicknamed me ‘Rabbi’ because I was the only one that went to a Jewish school,” he told the boys.
He then added a sad admission, “I have not put on Tefillin since back then…”
With tears in his eyes but a happy heart, the man wrapped the Tefillin on his arm and head and said, “Shema Yisroel…”