Shmuel’s Story

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A group of students, from the ulpan at Kibbutz Beit Hashita, was walking through the Jewish Quarter of the Old City looking for a place they could buy a siddur and a tallis.  A tall thin religious looking man with a dark suit and a black beard passed their way.  The group stopped him and asked if he could direct them to a reliable religious articles dealer. The man was more than happy to oblige and in the process handed them his card. The students upon reading the card looked at each other and then broke into peals of laughter. The people from the kibbutz had expressly warned them that there would be people at the Kotel who would approach them about studying in yeshiva or spending Shabbos with an orthodox family. They were to ignore them and go about their business. But, not only had they met one of these people, he was the most famous of them all, Rabbi Meir Schuster, and it was they who had approached him.

When the laughter subsided one of the group, a young man named Shmuel, mentioned to Rabbi Schuster that as Pesach was fast approaching he would like to spend the Seder with a religious family. The kibbutz was infamous for their lack of Pesach celebration, an attitude which offended Shmuel and many of the other ulpanicks. One month later, with the help of Rabbi Schuster, Shmuel was invited to spend the Seder with an inspirational family in the Sharre Chesed neighborhood of Jerusalem. His Seder experience proved positive enough to encourage Shmuel to contact Rabbi Schuster again after his ulpan ended early because of the war in Lebanon. This time Rabbi Schuster suggested a Jerusalem yeshiva.

At the yeshiva, Shmuel concentrated for six months on proving to himself the authenticity of Jewish tradition and on developing the basic skills necessary for the study of the Talmud. Another Reb Meir success story.