In Judaism, they say that everything happens for the best. Even when things don’t seem to be turning out okay, it is all “Hashgaha Pratit” from Hashem. Well, although I didn’t grow up religious, I have to believe that what happened to me in the Summer of 2010 was an absolute miracle from God.
It was 2010 and I was turning 20-years-old. I was still a troubled young girl who was looking for herself and was looking to escape the difficult home I lived in. My parents were going to send me to college in New York at the end of my short vacation. They told me that they might not be able to send me to New York, even though I was going to be the one paying for college. I couldn’t go back home (and certainly didn’t want to) even if that meant that I would have to sleep in Times Square.
“If you are planning to stay here, do it on your own or come back home!” my father angrily told me over the phone.
So there I was, a Jewish girl all alone in New York City by herself with two dollars in her pocket.
Were was I going to go?
Where was I going to sleep??
Where is Manhattan???
Where is Brooklyn????
But, just when it seemed like everything could end terribly, something special happened.
Even though I didn’t know a thing about New York, I was led to the type of wonderful friend I’d been looking for all along. I was wearing a spaghetti shirt and tight jeans. The first train I was, somehow, going to hop on was the downtown train to Williamsburg. I asked a guy just before he left the train, “Where is the Jewish area?” He wasn’t any help.
“Get off at a stop called Williamsburg,” I thought to myself. “I might sleep in the Jewish area…and if not, I might go to Times Square and stay there.”
When I arrived, every single person ignored me because I wasn’t wearing proper religious attire. Even though I’m completely Ashkenazi, like them, just the fact that I wasn’t wearing the right clothing was a good enough reason to ignore me, in their minds. But, just like the saying, “There is a light at the end of the tunnel,” this one lady noticed and was willing to help.
“Are you okay?” she asked.
“Yes!” I answered happily, as if it was the first time someone ever noticed my existence.
“Do you happen to know a shelter around here?” (I thought to myself that if she didn’t, I’d go back to Plan B and sleep in Times Square.)
“No I don’t,” she said, “What’s going on?”
I told her that I didn’t want to go back home for personal reasons and that it was my first time in New York. Just as I was about to leave her and go on my way to Times Square, she stopped me.
“Wait. There is a Jewish agency in the area. They might be able to help you.”
“But I’m not wearing proper clothing,” I said.
She told me they probably wouldn’t help but it wouldn’t hurt to try.
And on that note, we went to this small office that is meant to help the Jewish community.
Now, when I got there, I heard people speaking mostly in Yiddish…..and I felt like I immediately became the center of attention for the improper clothing I was wearing.
“Shalom,” I said, and started speaking Hebrew to the man who was sitting in front of me.
After telling him my story, he responded, “I’m sorry but we can’t help you. There is nowhere we know of that you can stay.”
I burst out crying and thought to myself, ”I knew I shouldn’t have come here!”
Where was I going to go?
“I’m not going to back to my difficult family,” I thought to myself.
Just as I was about to get up and leave to go to Times Square, a nice lady by the name of Chava said “Come talk to me.”
I wasn’t even able to properly hold a conversation, I was crying so hard. I told her that there was no way I was going back home.
“Well then it’s going to be difficult. Do you know anyone in New York?” she asked.
“No,” I responded. I said I was just planning on being homeless for a short period in Times Square.
“Being homeless is not an option. People will take advantage of you.” She found people I could stay with.
Chava had a nice, warming, smile. She loved Israel. She had these pictures of Israel on her wall, and pictures of her cats. I could tell right away that she was a very none-judgmental, loving person. She was so motherly too, and made sure that I ate. This motherly, wonderful lady soon become someone very significant to me. She even soon became the most influential person in my life. She didn’t care about how I dressed or how religious I was. She helped me simply because I was a Jew. When I met her, I finally felt that I had a mother figure in my life. Here was someone who truly cared about me and would always be there for me, no matter what. Even though I have serious abandonment issues, she always reminds me that she is there and she isn’t going anywhere. She has been there for me with so much patience. She not only filled an empty space in my heart with so much love, she taught me many things.
Chava taught me that we are in this world to do as much good as possible. No matter how tempted we are, we should always make good choices. She taught me to believe in Hashem, and that true miracles do happen. She taught me what it means to be Jewish. I’ve never met anyone who cared so much for others in general as she does. Even now, she is always out and about helping people. I’ve since realized that I was very blessed to have meet this very special person, even though she may think of herself as ordinary. I realized that she is nothing short of an angel, and to me she is the mother I wish I had. I’ve realized something even deeper as well. I realized that Hashem heard my tears and didn’t let me down when I needed a miracle. He gave me a present in the form of this person who will always love me and care for me.
I never would have met her if I didn’t run away, if my father wasn’t angry that night and hadn’t told me to “Go do it on your own,” or if I hadn’t have gone through all the trouble I went through. Chava has not only saved my life, but she also kept me alive by giving me something that I never felt before…unconditional love. She is my role model. She is someone I aspire to be like. Hopefully, someday I will have the chance to be someone’s Chava.