I first had the great pleasure of having Rabbi Rodal in summer camp in Detroit. Being that my experience in a religious Jewish setting was limited, his class was always understandable and fun. Shortly after this summer my family moved to Pittsburgh, and Rabbi Rodal actually was never my teacher. Yet, he set a standard for me that I’m forever grateful for and try to implement today. Rabbi Rodal… would always do two things when he randomly saw me ( a young teenage girl at the time). One, If he was driving he would wave and the other thing was if I walked passed him, he would stop me and share a joke. That’s it! That’s it! and That’s it!
What is the big deal ? How does this impact you till today, you may wonder?…Rabbi Rodal was great teacher but his ability to raise a person up and recognize them was outstanding. Despite who he was, his limited time, his stature, Rabbi always found time to talk to me – not lecture me… but simply share a punny joke related to Torah. This interaction was so defining for me it validated the importance of my presences, my existence and more importantly he seemed to actually enjoy sharing with me.
When you are a teenager you are very self conscious and unsure of yourself. When you are a girl a Rabbi can seem very intimidating or uninterested in your existence. For Rabbi Rodal he found time to sweetly, humbly and lovingly take a moment and acknowledge who I was. This means worlds.
Today, when I see a teenager I try to smile, small chat and laugh with them. To pass on the kind gesture that I was so graciously given by Rabbi Rodal. Just a Simple act of kindness, that had long lasting effects. Thank you Rabbi for noticing.