When a bunk at CGI Melbourne set out to go canoeing, one of the bochurim insisted on bringing his tefillin, even though the others discouraged it. This is what ended up happening.
It was just another “regular” exciting day in CGI Melbourne summer camp – which takes place during the Australian summer in the month of Teves – when bunk Temimim set out to go canoeing.
It was just about an 8-minute walk away from camp, and it’s in the middle of nowhere – Harrietville Victoria.
Before they left, one of the bochurim made sure to get his tefillin, for wherever he goes he makes sure to take his teffilin along.
The immediate reaction he got was “We’re in the middle of nowhere, not going anywhere, and there are no Yidden around anyways, don’t bother to shlep your tefillin”. And besides, his mivtzoim tefillin was actually by mistake locked up in a closet…
But he insisted and went ahead and took his regular tefillin with him.
On their way back to camp, walking through unpaved walking paths, suddenly a young man walks out from between the bushes.
One of the bochurim noticed and reacted saying “Let’s ask him if he’s Jewish”.
Without hesitating, he approaches the man, and was surprised to get a response “I’m not so sure if I’m Jewish”.
“What do you mean?”
“Well, my great-grandmother was Jewish.”
Turned out that his mother’s mother’s mother was Jewish!
So they explained to him that he was just as Jewish as Moses and just as themselves.
He was very interested, and the bochurim used the opportunity to tell him about a Bar Mitzvah and the significance of putting on tefillin, and telling him “We actually have a pair of tefillin right here with us!”
He then told us that he had just recently put them on for the first time when he met a few guys from California in Melbourne, when he showed us the picture we were shocked! They were the Shluchim to Yeshiva College here in Melbourne, who were right now with us together in camp as well!
He got very excited, and we put on the tefillin together, saying the berachos and Shema, followed by saying it all in English, which he found very interesting, and he was clearly touched.
After they finished, he expressed a big interest in learning more about Yidishkeit. “Obviously, we are more than happy to follow up with him on this,” the bochurim said.
“This was a big inspiration for all, to take our tefillin wherever we go, and we’ll never know when an opportunity can arise, and we can’t afford to miss out on it…” the bochurim said.