Jewish Journal


May 30, 2012

Jewish Geography



A couple of weeks ago my son got into his first car accident.  It was a hit and run right by our house and it shook me to my core.  Thank God he was not hurt.  I knew it would happen, and know it will happen again, but it truly scared us both.  He went from wanting to drive all the time to now not wanting to drive at all.  He will get back behind the wheel when he is ready.

My car was badly damaged in the accident and so for the past two weeks it’s been in the shop getting repaired.  After the accident I opted to take it in to a body shop that was on a list of places provided by my insurance company.  I mentioned to my Englishman that I was taking it in and he insisted I go his guy because he was great.

I was certain I should take it to the shop accredited by my insurance company, but he was adamant that I use his guy.  He’s my boyfriend, our relationship is new, and so in the interest of that I caved and said I would take it to his guy.  I called my insurance agency, told them I selected a new shop, and made arrangements to take it to some guy called Gary. That’s all he gave me.  He was great, his name was Gary, and he wanted me to do this for him.

Important to note that the body shop I selected was about 5 minutes from my home but Gary was 20 minutes away.  By 20 minutes of course I mean this is Los Angeles which means he would only be 20 minutes away if I was the only car on the road.  Getting to Gary was going to be a schlep and schlepping is not really my thing.

I don’t mind telling you that as I schlepped to Gary I was a little nervous.  What if he did a bad job? What if he ripped me off?  What would it mean to my car, and more importantly, what would it mean to my relationship?  I was nervous, felt pressure, was emotional about the fact that my son was just in car accident, and freaked out that I was officially in a real relationship.

I walked into the shop and was greeted by a woman who looked very familiar. We started chatting and knew we knew each other, but were not sure from where.  We quickly realized that our kids had gone to the same day school and we had seen each other every day for years.  Her husband, Gary, came out and we discovered all the same people we knew.

My delicious Jewish boyfriend sent me to his fabulous Jewish body shop guy, who it turns out is a member of my temple, knows me and my kid, and whose wife is beyond lovely.  Jewish geography was in full swing and I was immediately overcome with relief because Gary was probably the one body shop owner I could trust with my car.  It truly is a small world.

Gary walked me to the rental car company next to his shop to get me into a car while the work was being done and we started to chat.  We talked about my writing for the Jewish Journal.  He then told me that his dad had just been interviewed by the Journal for an article on Holocaust survivors.  It turns out his dad is Jack Adelstein, who was just featured in the Journal.

I had just read the article about Mr. Adelstein as it came out the same week as my son’s accident.  I read his incredible story and was touched by his history.  Having worked at The Shoah Foundation Institute for many years, I feel blessed to have met so many survivors and feel honored to hear their stories.  It was amazing to me that Jack was Gary’s dad.

What a small world it is and how fascinating is it when Jewish geography comes into play?  That my son had an accident is heartbreaking, but that so many lines were connected because of it is remarkable.  Jack Adelstein is an amazing man whose story must be heard, and Gary Adelstein is a mensch who took care of me in a way that has left an impression.

There really are six degrees of separation between us all and one must wonder if maybe there are only 4 degrees when it comes to Jewish geography.  I am still amazed that I found my way to Gary and the Bristol Collision Center the way I did.  It just makes no sense that of all the people the Englishman would want me to see, I would be so connected to the person he sent me to.

It did not matter that he knew my boyfriend, my son, my friends, or my Rabbi.  It only mattered that I was a mother who needed a safe car.  He operates his business with a Jewish heart that is driven by the pride he has in his father.  He did a beautiful job with my car and when I picked it up, I drove away knowing he took care of everything and I was safe.

I now not only have a fabulous boyfriend, but I have a great auto body shop.  I feel blessed that my son is okay, my car is fixed, my boyfriend has my back, and in a business where so many people can take advantage of you, there is a nice Jewish guy who operates with an ethical and kind heart.  You just never know who people know so be kind and remember to keep the faith. 


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