On Tuesday, Rosh Chodesh Adar Alef, Shevach Menaheles Mrs. Shulamith Insel, in her inimitable manner, introduced a special speaker to her student body. Not a sound was heard for over an hour as Rabbi Avrohom Goldstein addressed the school. Rabbi Goldstein is a ger tzedek, originally from Puerto Rico. He gave up his “freedom” to pursue what he knew was emes: true Yiddishkeit. In Puerto Rico, he observed an empty life in the people around him and knew he wanted more.

At the age of 14, he made his way to New York and ultimately to Williamsburg. With humor and insight, he described his journey from being a worker in a grocery, to being a chasidic Jew, with full garb, including beard and pei’os, which he wears with pride until today.

It was the royalty of the Jewish people that pulled him. Rabbi Goldstein remarked that only the Jewish people know how to build, as opposed to tearing down. The negative culture so prevalent today is about criticism and destroying the values we hold dear. In Judaism, he found positivity and peace of mind. Occasionally, he struggled for acceptance and adjustment to a new world, but ultimately, he achieved both. He continues to see innocence in the children and k’dushah in the households. He views Judaism as unique in so many ways and embraces that uniqueness. He is surrounded by people with midos tovos, and takes pride in his own children, who are married with children of their own, all living a life of true Yiddishkeit.

Rabbi Goldstein shares his story openly as an expression of appreciation for what he has. He left the students with this message of hakaras ha’tov. The guiding emotion, which is his mantra, is the positive attitude of being secure in the knowledge that life as a true Jew is something to be truly happy with, and not take for granted.

Rabbi Goldstein ended the morning with a special performance for the girls. He regaled the audience with his musical talent, playing several heartwarming melodies on his violin. He certainly is multifaceted and brings all that into his presentation.

Students were inspired and in awe of a person with the clarity to see what we all know and should emulate: Thank you, Hashem, for making me part of the great Jewish people.