My family and I spent last Shabbat with Rabbi Aaron and Rivky Slonim, at Chabad of Binghamton University. Our relationship with the Slonims precedes our mutual involvement in Chabad On Campus, and goes back to Tzipah’s days as a student there.
Although Tzipah and I have visited Binghamton numerous times since we got engaged 10 years ago this summer, this past Shabbat felt like a homecoming, of sorts. Sent by the Lubavitcher Rebbe to Binghamton in 1985, the Slonims have built an impressive Chabad House. Despite being a 24,000 square foot building, it magically retains a feeling of being a home, not an institution.
Yet despite the warmth and camaraderie that we experienced last Shabbat, I witnessed what was perhaps an even more impressive Chabad House that day.
In the basement, the children found some wooden planks (don’t ask me where!), and had constructed their own mini-Chabad House. A Chabad House within a Chabad House. They were hanging out in their own Chabad House, having a great time!
This story illustrates the power of educating by example. Perhaps nothing speaks louder to a child than the honest example of his or her parents.
Many parents are careful with their speech, lest their children hear an inappropriate word or thought. I once heard from Rabbi Shmuel Lew, a senior Chabad representative in London, that more than being concerned with what our children hear us say, we should be concerned with what they see us doing!
Blaze a path of loving kindness, care for every human being, charity and other Jewish values, and our children will, G-d willing, follow suit.