By Chaplain (CPT) Dovid Egert, USA
One of my duties as chaplain is to provide Torah classes to service members. Currently, on Tuesday nights, I teach an in-person Jewish Learning Institute (JLI) course with a live stream option for service members who want to tune in virtually. Soldiers have logged in from around the country as well as from overseas locations.
I recently went on a temporary duty assignment (TDY) to Fort Drum, New York for a few days to visit soldiers from my unit. I had decided to cancel the weekly JLI class for that week because I was traveling and did not know the car rental availability at Syracuse Airport or if I would have a strong Wifi connection at the military lodging. As I was preparing to fly from Fort Bragg to Syracuse Airport, a Jewish soldier and her civilian husband who are stationed at Fort Drum, offered to pick me up. I was completely blown away by the offer as the airport is well over an hour drive away from the base, on a typical day. That day had a bad snowstorm and the roads were extremely hazardous. I accepted their offer as I was not thrilled to drive in those conditions.
Since I was unaware of what accesses or WiFi capability I would have, I considered canceling my Tuesday night class this particular week. This couple was adamant that they had signed up to take this class and were looking forward to it—they would not take “NO CLASS” as an option. They had already attended five of my other classes and enjoyed them. They asked what I needed to make the class happen
that night and I responded that hard line internet access was the main requirement. They generously opened their home to me, gave me their computer to use, and offered whatever else I needed so I could teach. They even gave me their second car to use for the week, so that I would not feel the need to burden them. I was extremely touched by their kind gestures and attempted to reimburse them for the use of their car, but they wouldn’t hear of it.
I am still touched and amazed by the kindness they displayed towards me. They understood the value of learning my Torah class so much that they went out of their way to help me keep it going.
Originally Published in The Shavuot 5783 Jewish-American Warrior Magazine