My involvement with Chabad started in 1974 while I was a student at the University of Michigan. One day, as I was walking through campus, a bearded man wearing a black hat approached me and asked, “Pardon me, are you Jewish?” When I answered in the affirmative, he invited me to Yom Kippur services.
This man was Rabbi Aharon Goldstein, the director of the Chabad House in Ann Arbor, and I went on to study Torah with him over the next couple of years, becoming more religiously involved. However, I was still undecided whether becoming fully Torah observant was for me. Additionally, I was fluctuating between two worlds – academia and business – uncertain whether to pursue a degree in psychology or follow one of my other talents and interests, the chief of which was cooking (a true passion of mine).
While in the midst of this confusion, I decided to write to the Rebbe, asking several questions about life. In his response, he began “May G-d grant you the fulfillment of your heart’s desires for good.” I took that to mean that what is important in making a decision such as this is following what feels right in one’s heart. The Rebbe encouraged me further by mentioning the assurance of Talmudic sages, “seek and you shall find,” which means that success requires effort but, as I discovered, even a little effort can go a long way.
In his inimitable way, the Rebbe was able to get me to focus on what I really wanted to do. And at that time, I expressed myself best through cooking, (more…)