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A Near Miss

It ended up being one of our favorite lesbian Chabad stories, but it was almost a tale of tragedy.

Mid-January, mid-Maine—even in the era of global warming, we sometimes get snowstorms that blanket the streets and muffle every possible noise. When R called me moments before I entered a staff meeting, I expected a gripe about shoveling out the car. Instead, she was calling to tell me that our favorite octogenarian congregant was in the hospital, and it didn’t look good, and could I make some calls to find someone to cover her class?

A lot of that entire week is a blur. Once it became clear that this congregant was out of imminent danger, I remember holding an exhausted R, who’d spent the whole day in the most chaotic day-long pastoral visit of her life. I remember driving through the night snow—my very first time, shekhekhiyanu!—to the hospital, chatting with our friend for a couple of hours, trading Yiddish jokes and explaining the punchlines to her kids and grandkids. I remember some sort of cook-a-thon, stepping back an hour before Shabbat to realize I miraculous had enough food for the twenty guests we’d have over the next 25 hours.