Dayna Skolkin was supposed to spending this week with all those last-minute wedding preparations that occupy a bride’s life just days before a wedding. Then Harvey descended on Texas and Dayna’s plans changed drastically.
With the family of her fiancé, Josh Tillis, unable to fly in and their wedding vendors dealing with the effects of the storm—which dumped nearly 50 feet of rain onto Houston and turned creeks, streams and bayous into raging rivers, making travel impassable—Dayna and Josh made the difficult decision to postpone their wedding. That decision meant that all the food that had been purchased for a pre-wedding Shabbat dinner planned for this coming Friday night at the Aishel House was just sitting at the Chabad-Lubavitch run center waiting to be used.
“It was really hashgacha pratis [divine providence] because we had all this food, a lot more supplies than we usually have on hand, so we were able to make dinner” for many more people, said Rabbi Eliezer Lazaroff, co-director of Aishel House with his wife, Rochel.
Turns out though it wasn’t just the food that the young couple contributed.
As Rochel Lazaroff says, they were just starting to make a chicken dinner with a small group of volunteers when in walked the bride- and groom-to-be.
“I said ‘Oh my G‑d, Dayna, this is the food we were going to use for your wedding’,” Rochel Lazaroff tells Chabad.org. “She almost had tears in her eyes, and said she wanted to help. So she and Josh joined the assembly line and started breading chicken for more than two hours.”
“I’m grateful that we were able to help,” says Skolkin. “It felt very good to do something proactive yesterday. It was really cathartic to us to take a step back [from wedding preparations and see the community come together.”
Skolkin, a nurse practioner, says that when she and her fiancé decided they wanted to get out and do their part to help their community there was nowhere else they wanted to be other than Aishel House, as the center was very special to her mother, Holly Harwood Skolkin.
According to the Lazaroffs, Harwood Skolkin was a driving force in helping to build Aishel House, which provides housing and meals for families with loved ones in local hopsitals.
“Aishel House has always been [a part of] our family,” says Dayna Skolkin, adding that going there is “always my way of connecting with my mother.”
Postponing the wedding—which is now scheduled for mid-December so as to allow for Houston to get up and running again—did lead to something positive, Skolkin maintains, noting that “the food helped people who really needed it. That was amazing.”
Says Rochel Lazaroff, “I told Dayna, ‘I know your mother is shepping so much nachas’. Holly was so important to Aishel House and it’s so beautiful that Dayna naturally went to the place where her mother would have gone.”
To assist in the hurricane relief effort, you can donate to the special fund here.