Although I said I wouldn’t be writing much until after our family’s wedding, I realized again late on deadline day that I have been carrying around a special story to share with our readers that I believe you will enjoy.
I am often approached at events, in shul or on the street by our readers who tell me what they like about the paper, and also, thankfully not as often, what they don’t like about our paper. People generally share which divrei Torah and section and columnists are their favorite ones or will mention a specific article or ad that they found insightful or useful. I never tire of hearing this kind of feedback and hopefully, never will.
One column of ours that I always receive excellent feedback and positive comments about is Danny Chazin’s “Take a Hike” which we publish biweekly year-round (except in the deep, colder, winter months) and is a labor of love for Danny, I believe. Many people have come over to me to tell me that not only do they read Danny’s column but they have done many of the hikes he has written about over the years and are big fans of his. I am also a fan of Danny’s and I have also attempted to do a few of the hikes he has written about, although I did manage to sprain my ankle on the last one and haven’t been hiking much since then.
Recently, a dynamic and talented young married woman from our readership whose identity I am keeping private, approached me at an event and told me that she and her husband read The Jewish Link from cover to cover every Shabbat and they love the paper. Of course, I loved hearing that.
Then, just as we were about to part, she told me that The Jewish Link played a special role in her marriage story. I certainly wanted to hear more.
She explained to me that it was a hike that she and her future husband went on—that she read about in Danny Chazin’s column in our paper—that played a major role in cementing their relationship. How so?
You see, this special young woman has what I would call “mobility challenges” and often uses a scooter to get around. While her relationship was going decently, it was still in the early stage and she wasn’t yet sure about him. However, she knew that he really liked hiking and she was concerned that this was something that she would never be able to do together with him. That was until she read a column published by our own Danny Chazin in Sept. 2020. It was entitled “For a Short, Easy Hike, Go to the Celery Farm Natural Area.” In the column, Danny wrote the following: “If you’re looking for a short, easy hike near home, this hike is perfect for you. It covers only one mile, and the route is completely flat…while looping around a scenic pond in Allendale, NJ.”
When this young woman read this article, she thought to herself that perhaps this was the perfect hike to try with her then-boyfriend of a few months. She was so excited to go on this flat hike with him.
Well, when they got to Celery Farm, they saw that while the hike was quite flat, unfortunately, it was still not quite flat enough for someone using a scooter. So he had to work with her and help her to make sure that she didn’t trip or hurt herself. Yet, as she explained to me, very poignantly: “With every obstacle that he helped me overcome that day…and the way he worked so hard to make sure we crossed every obstacle and that I was OK…made me realize this was the person I wanted to marry and be with.” They were married less than a year later.
Of course, I teared up in front of her hearing this and I hope you are as well.
Yashar Koach to Danny Chazin and his hiking column for having a share in this shidduch. And Danny, I promise you that they are not upset about the hike not being as flat as advertised.
By Moshe Kinderlehrer/
Co-Publisher, The Jewish Link