Bob Dylan, M.C. Hammer and the Joy of a Mitzvah

Celebs and Common Criminals Equally Important to Chabad

Challah Time: Mordechai Lightstone has stories to tell about rappers M.C. Hammer and Snoop Dogg, along with Bob Dylan, Henry Kissinger and others. He’s also helped jailed criminals see their Jewish identity.
Challah Time: Mordechai Lightstone has stories to tell about rappers M.C. Hammer and Snoop Dogg, along with Bob Dylan, Henry Kissinger and others. He’s also helped jailed criminals see their Jewish identity.

By Mordechai Lightstone

Published October 07, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 4)

The fact that we employed probably the most awkward daisy-chain of translators since the days Lewis and Clark didn’t help either. But after we Americans were done speaking in English to a French college student, who then discussed with his fellow expat in French how to best translate our words to Italian for the guard, and then they finally translated, we were told to drive around the corner and wait.

An assistant finally approached us, accepted our Shabbos gifts, and thanked us for our interest. We went back to Venice to help the rabbi and his wife prepare for the expected 300 guests that Friday night.

Several summers later, after being ordained a rabbi, I went on a similar challah and wine adventure. My friend Mendel and I were serving as roving rabbis as part of Chabad’s Merkos Summer Visitation Program. We were told that Henry Kissinger lived not too far from our base in Northwestern Connecticut.

Plugging the address into our GPS, we wound our way through a small country road and thick forests to the former Secretary of State’s estate. Suddenly, arriving at the crest of a small hill, we cleared the trees and were able to see the property itself.

The immaculate grounds, dotted with trees, ponds and rolling green hills, spread out before us like a painting. It occurred to me that despite the size of estate, what seemed to be the actual house of the former Secretary of State was in fact surprisingly small.

As we drove down the crest of the hill to the house, a silver Audi parked in the driveway began to drive towards us. Inside sat a dignified lady sporting large sunglasses and teased hair.

We pulled up next to her. She rolled down her window and motioned for us to do the same.

“Can I help you?” she asked.

What do you say when to someone when you look as if you were just plucked from the set of ‘Fiddler On the Roof?’ The obvious of course.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • According to a new poll, 75% of Israeli Jews oppose intermarriage.
  • Will Lubavitcher Rabbi Moshe Wiener be the next Met Council CEO?
  • Angelina Jolie changed everything — but not just for the better:
  • Prime Suspect? Prime Minister.
  • Move over Dr. Ruth — there’s a (not-so) new sassy Jewish sex-therapist in town. Her name is Shirley Zussman — and just turned 100 years old.
  • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.