Ayelet Mamo Shay was feeling helpless. The Israeli businesswoman and author who lives in Gibraltar got word that her son, a university student in London, was required to quarantine for 14 days. “A student who lives on the same floor as he does, tested positive for coronavirus and so my son was told to quarantine as he may be infected,” she said.
Unable to hop on a plane because of COVID restrictions, the Jewish mom worried. “My son was so far away from me. I was worried, not just about him contracting the virus, but about what he would eat for the next two weeks. His university is an hour’s journey from Golder’s Green, London’s Jewish hub, but being quarantined meant that he couldn’t go there to buy kosher food as he usually does.”
Ayelet posted to a Whatsapp group for Israeli business people abroad called Hul-Mehudar. Within seconds, people responded and she was connected with Rabbi Shneor Glitzenstein of the Chabad Israeli Centre in Golders Green. He pointed her to Rabbi Dovid Cohen of Chabad South London Students and Young Professionals as he was closer to the university.
“Rabbi Cohen was kind and caring. He told me he was out of town but he put me in touch with his wife,” Ayelet shared.
“Soon after, the incredible Sora Cohen called me. She asked me the specific details of my son’s food preferences and made herself a list of what to prepare for him and what would make him feel better at this time.
“The next day Sora made the hour and twenty minute trip to Kosher Kingdom in Golders Green so that she could prepare all of my son’s favorite dishes.”
Sora prepared meats, chicken, schnitzel and spaghetti bolognese with a variety of sides. And of course she brought along Bamba, Bissli and all the other Israeli snacks so he should feel as close as possible to home.
“I’m writing about this kindness with tears in my eyes,” Ayelet wrote in a post to her Facebook page. “Tears of happiness, gratitude and pride that I am a Jew, that our people are ready to help one another, even those we don’t know, in any corner of the world.”
Ayelet should know. A researcher studying small Jewish communities around the world, she’s traveled far and wide.
In the post she thanked her friends on Hul-Mehudar, all those who tried to help her with connections, or out-of-the-box ideas. “And the amazing Rabbi Cohen, his wife Sora and all the incredible people of Chabad who can be found in every corner of the globe spreading light and doing good with so much joy and love in their hearts.”
Ayelet Mamo Shay is Co-Founder and Director of Benefit Business Solutions Ltd and Chairwoman of the Gibraltar-Israel Chamber of Commerce. Ayelet is a journalist and the author of “Relocation Darling, Relocation,” and founder and organizer of Israeli-Abroad Relocation Day.