A Hebrew Teacher Like No Other

Even though we live far from a sizable Jewish community we always knew that one way or another we would make sure that our children received some form of a Jewish education. To say that this has not been easy is a huge understatement. There was a time that we feared that we would never find a decent teacher. I even flew to Montreal to take a course so that I could teach the children.

This story is about what has to be our worst experience as far as teachers are concerned. It was many years ago and although some of the details have become hazy I swear to you I have not made any of it up. I could not make this up.

The two families who were serching for a teacher decided that we needed some help in finding one, so I contacted Jewish Congress. After a while they informed me that they found someone who was in Australia at the moment but was planning on coming to Canada. We were very happy as it was extremely difficult to find someone willing to come up north. At some point, a little late in the game we contacted our cousin, a law professor in Australia, and asked her to see if she could check into this man for us. A while later we received an email back from our cousin saying that she would contact us again very soon as we were heading into Rosh Hashana but that she had discovered some information and we should hang tight for now. Chag Sameach.. We were forced to wait. So we continued with the plan to bring him out and to continue checking him out. Somehow I was elected the person to drive to Toronto, pick him up and bring him back here. I picked him up, no problem.  He was nice enough. There had been a delay as to when he was ready to come up. In the car, on the long ride home, he told me that he had had some trouble at the airport with some religious texts that he was bringing in and that was what caused the delay. He chalked it up to antisemitism. I was both shocked and upset, that just shouldn’t happen here in this day and age. I suggested filing a formal complaint but he just wanted to let it go. At some point during the drive I got that uncomfortable feeling as I thought about driving alone in a car with an absolute stranger. As the drive progressed he became more and more excited with the landscape and soon began talking about settling in our city. Once home I told my husband how this struck me as strange. How do you come to a new country, not know anybody and not know anything about where you’re going and suddenly decide that this is where you want to live. He had a fiancee and said that he planned on bringing her out, I think he said that she was in Mexico. We got him to our home and had the families involved over to meet him.  He played his guitar, sang with the kids and in general was very charming. Everybody liked him.

Within a couple of days we received an email from our cousin in Australia. From what she could discover it seems that he was wanted in Australia for trying to embezzle widows there out of money. We then received a phone call from the bank to confirm that my husband cosigned on a loan for the teacher. We put an immediate stop to that. Then the police phoned us. Another family had called them as he tried to involve them in some banking and they wanted him checked out.  The police checked him out and then wanted to speak to us as it turned out that he was wanted by Interpol. Interpol! I thought they just existed in spy movies. The police wanted this guy and they needed us to not blow it for them.  I guess they were successful as we soon after got a call from the jailhouse to ask if we would be a character witness.  Now, I definitely witnessed a real character but I don’t think that this was what he had in mind.  I actually delivered his guitar to the jail and that was pretty much the last we heard of him. He left the city and I think was set loose in Canada. I’m not really sure. I tried calling Congress to give them a heads up so that if he tried to work his way into another community they would be forewarned.  Surprisingly enough Congress was not appreciative and refused to speak to me.

We would continue our hunt for a teacher on our own, we certainly couldn’t do any worse. We may have done more weird but we certainly didn’t do more criminal. I guess that’s something.


6 responses to “A Hebrew Teacher Like No Other

  1. To heck with diplomacy, it’s over rated and good stories must be told. I do remember that Congress really let you down at that time.

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