I met Jeff in 1992 when I was studying at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, a U.C Santa Cruz abroad program . Jeff had a Jewish student center on campus and that became my home away from home! Every Shabbos I was either hosted by my new family there or set up by Jeff. If I was on campus or downtown or wherever, there was Jeff asking if I needed anything and if I was ‘set’ for Shabbos. I grew up with a strong Jewish identity and almost 0 Jewish knowledge and had never experienced Shabbat before in my life! Jeff brought Shabbos into my life every week. That’s not the only thing he brought into my life.. back in 1990 Russell from Los Angeles was backpacking through Europe after spending a year abroad in Australia. Once he reached the Western Wall, he was met by Jeff ! Jeff asked him if he wanted a place to stay for free that offered cool trips and the next thing he knew he was sleeping in the Aish Ha Torah dorms !
After he went touring Israel with other Aish students , he found himself signing up for a Discovery seminar which rocked his whole world perception! Though he called his Dad back in L.A. to let him know that he “found” G-d, his Dad responded that G-d was also in U.C Berkeley and that he better get home now! Russell returned home to complete his university degree but came back to Israel his junior year and attended the Hebrew University in 1992. This is where we met !! And Jeff took care of us the whole year making sure we were heading in the right direction spiritually, setting us up for shabbat and yeshiva and anything we needed! Russell was featured on the Heritage House brochure with a picture that said ” most likely to assimilate and intermarry ”
Today we are grateful to Jeff everyday as we now live in Israel with our 4 kids and 4 grandchildren !!
And now I work for an organization called Kotel Connections which looks to connect Jews who visit the Western Wall to Jewish resources and experiences and connections around the world !! And Reuven is in real estate helping others settle in this special land !
1992-2023 .. Jeff is still here asking me how the kids are doing and I still see his bowling shoes hitting the pavement whenever I’m in a hot spot !
Still groovin’ and movin’.. and changing lives !
We are just one family who wants to say ..hey… Thanks ! For making the effort.