Macon, Georgia, an hour’s drive from Atlanta, did not yet have a Chabad presence. Enter Rabbi Chaim and Chayala Markovits, directors of Chabad of Rural Georgia. This young couple from Australia and California, opened the first Rural Chabad Center in the US. They travel around the state to small Jewish communities and bring the warmth and light of Chabad to each place. One of their first Jewish experiences was to offer a public Seder in Macon for Passover last year, 2021. They rented a room in a hotel and transformed it into a beautiful Passover Seder complete with all the details including a delicious kosher for Passover meal. Jewish people heard about it and came out of the woodworks to attend. As the Seder progressed, little did they realize that G-d had planned a special guest to join them for the Seder. The unexpected guest appeared and for a moment the assembled thought they were seeing, “Elijah the Prophet” dressed up as a local.Here is how it happened:
Moments after opening the door for Elijah the Prophet, a tall, broad man with a Harley Davidson leather jacket and a loud Brooklyn accent knocked on the door and came in.
“Is this a Passover Seder?” he bellowed out. “Here, in Macon?! Well, Good Yom Tov!”
OK, by now the assembled understood that this was a Jewish person who had somehow found his way to the Seder, here in Macon!
After the excitement calmed down and David was enjoying hot roast and potato kugel, he shared his story.
David grew up with a traditional Jewish family in Canarsie, Brooklyn. His grandparents lived in Crown Heights, blocks away from 770 Eastern Parkway (Chabad headquarters and the Rebbe’s synagogue). David loved going to his grandparents, who were Polish refugees. Grandpa only spoke Yiddish and instilled in David and his sister a love of Yiddishkeit. In the early years, Zeidy would take his grandson along to see the Rebbe whom he admired greatly. Later on, on many a Sunday, David would join the line of visitors and receive a Dollar from the Rebbe.
We asked David what brought him here to Macon?
Emotionally he shared his story. “I was adopted as a baby,” he began. “When I got older, I searched for my birth parents. Recently, I discovered my biological family. After 59 years, I traveled South to meet my siblings. I spent the day with my sister and her family and then checked into the nearest hotel.”
David remembered that it was Passover time. He was thinking and wondering how he would love to participate and enjoy a Passover Seder. Walking into the lobby of the hotel, he suddenly noticed a young boy with a yarmulka and tzitzit sitting close by. Surprised, he approached the boy and asked him, what he was doing here? The boy told him that his family was here to celebrate the Passover Seder! David followed him and his ears picked up the sound of Passover songs being sung. And that’s how he found the Seder!
Imagine how surprised everyone was, including David! He joined our Seder and with tears in his eyes said, “Thank you for being here tonight. Nothing is by chance, and G-d directed my path. Chabad is exactly what I needed tonight to celebrate Passover. Thank you!”
As seen in the Living Jewish newsletter with edits by Rabbi Markovits and David P.
This story can be found on FB in the original at: chabadruralgeorgia
David shares: Growing up, my grandparents took me to the Rebbe. It’s so many years ago that I am not sure about this but I remember getting a silver dollar from the holy hand of the Rebbe. Throughout my life and the challenges which life brings, the Rebbe has always been there for me, through his Shluchim – emissaries. I carry a picture of the Rebbe with me always. I am forever grateful to the Rebbe and his Shluchim for all they do for others, myself included.