It’s not every day that a bar mitzvah takes place at Costco in Brick, but that’s exactly what just happened, thanks to Toms River resident Yosef Shidler.
Shidler says that he and his wife went on a shopping trip to Home Depot and Costco, during which he struck up a conversation with a Costco employee after noticing him using some familiar Jewish phrases.
The Costco employee told Shidler that his mother was Jewish, with the Toms River resident reminding the man that if so, he was Jewish too. Shidler asked him if he had ever put on tefillin, and the man said he had not.
Immediately, Mr. Shidler suggested making a bar mitzvah for the man on the spot, but unfortunately, he didn’t have tefillin on hand.
So, the next day, Mr. Shidler made a stop at Costco to perform a bar mitzvah on a Jewish man who had never had the opportunity to be in touch with his religion. Yosef wrapped the tefillin on the man and they celebrated with a small dance right there in the store.
Shidler followed up the touching and spontaneous bar mitzvah by connecting the Costco employee with a Chabad rabbi in the general neighborhood where he lived.
“Who knows what the future holds, but in that moment, we were able to bring some Jewish joy into someone’s life and connect them with their roots,” Shidler said. “It was a beautiful and unexpected experience that reminded us of the power of connecting with others and embracing our traditions.”
“Don’t wait for a kiruv rabbi to bring our brethren closer to Hashem,” Mr. Shidler told Lakewood Alerts. “Each and every one of us can be a guiding light for our brothers and sisters who don’t know about their heritage. All we need is to be willing.”