Izzy Applebaum married Helen Shapiro and they moved to a small town where he set up a general-purpose store. The store was known for a great selection of Cowboy boots and Blue Jeans.
After a couple of years, Izzy expanded the store and he and Helen had a son. They named him after Helen’s dearly departed Dad, Albert.
Izzy brought Albie with him to Synagogue every Saturday. Izzy went to Shul because there were usually just nine other guys and they needed ten for the minyan. There was no Rabbi, so Izzy led the service.
As the years went by, more Jewish families moved into the area, and Izzy redoubled his efforts to make sure the community was vibrant and alive. He was soon made president of Beth Israel and he watched with a sense of tremendous accomplishment as a house was bought for a Rabbi.
When a Rabbi and his wife were recruited from a Yeshiva in New York to lead the community, everyone celebrated. It was a tremendous accomplishment.
The store was doing a booming business and Helen knew everybody who came in to buy anything. Albie helped out after school and loved spending time with his parents. He was a genuinely good kid.
One evening when Helen and Izzy were going over possible Universities that Albie might attend, he surprised them by saying he wanted to go to a Yeshiva. He loved his Judaism and wanted to become a Rabbi.
Izzy wanted to make sure he was making the right decision ‘’Son, we’ll be very proud if you become a Rabbi but why not get a degree that you can fall back on, in case things don’t work out.’’ Albie suggested that it was weird logic, but he signed up for an undergraduate degree in business.
Albie was accepted by the Wharton business school after his second year at the University Of Toronto. When he finished his degree he was awarded the prestigious Diamond Award for being the student with the highest marks in his program.
His parents celebrated his success and asked Albie his plans as he received all kinds of high paying offers for employment from prestigious corporations. ‘’I am going to Israel and I’m going to a Yeshiva to become a certified Rabbi.’’
It was a bit of a shock for Helen and Izzy, but they supported his decision. He found a Yeshiva in Jerusalem and left to study. One year later he called to tell them he had met a wonderful girl and wanted them to meet her. A Zoom call was arranged and they were introduced to Tzipporah.
The Wedding was six months later and Helen and Izzy felt a tremendous sense of happiness. It was their first time in Israel and they loved it. It was not the kind of wedding they were used to with men on one side and women on the other, but they enjoyed every second of it. Tzipporah’s parents were lovely people. They were similar to Helen and Izzy, they weren’t overly religious but they were proudly Jewish. They also loved their daughter. The families all hit it off.
One year after the Wedding, Tzipporah and Albie had their first child. It was a little boy named Jonas after Izzy’s Dad.
By the time Albie had been given his Smicha or certification to become an ordained Rabbi he and Tzipporah had three kids. He surprised his parents by telling them he had accepted a pulpit one hundred miles from their home and the store.
It didn’t take long for Albie to gain recognition as an outstanding Rabbi, his congregation loved him. He was soon in demand as a speaker and he became a prolific author.
Every once in a while he would take Tzipporah and the kids to stay at his parent’s place and help out at the store and be a guest Rabbi at the Synagogue his Dad built, Beth Israel.
One night, Albie and Izzy were sitting on Izzy’s porch and Albie looked at his Dad. ‘’I just want to say how much I love you and how grateful I am that you and Mom are my parents. When I was going through Business school I knew that I wanted to be a Rabbi, but getting my business degree proved that I could do it, and it was great for my self-confidence. When I was going through Yeshiva, I kept reading about the greatest figures in Jewish life and both you and Mom are on the same level. You have always been honest, decent, loving, and you’ve cared about your community and your family. You never ever let me down and you have been an inspiration in a million different ways. I just wanted to tell you, how much I love you and Mom and Thank You for being who you are. Your actions always spoke louder than words, and you both have always been consistent in everything you do. I pray that my children can be a quarter of the people that you and Mom are.’’
Izzy started to cry as Albie’s speech brought back memories of his parents who always stressed that the most important thing in life was family. Izzy knew that no matter what he did for the rest of his life he could rest easy, he had helped create an exceptional human being who would continue to bring respect to the Shapiro name.
Albie was the product of unconditional love and as a result, he had turned into a sensational person and a mensch. He and Tzipporah and kids were the bonus that Izzy and Helen would always be grateful to Gd for. Albie was proof that what you give in life is what you get. Sometimes life in a small town can work out better than a person could have ever imagined.