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Although his mother was born Jewish, she had raised him completely secular.
The couple said very little, and seemed "pretty icy." Two years later, the Machlises received a letter beginning, "You probably don't remember us…" (Since there had been so few guests that Rosh Hashanah, Henny remembered them well.) The woman went on to write: "When we left your place, we said, ‘This is the kind of home we want to have -- the light and the warmth and the children.' I had never realized that there was anything more to being Jewish than what I grew up with. Then we started keeping Shabbat, then kashrut, then I started to go to the mikveh. Mordechai is a much-loved rebbe and teacher in a men's yeshiva, and also teaches Jewish Studies at Bar Ilan. She used to teach Jewish subjects in adult education.A refined 67-year-old widow ate alone every Shabbat for five years after her husband died; her independent persona dissuaded her friends from inviting her.Now all three enjoy the palpable warmth of the Machlis table.And I want to learn how to put on tefillin." For more than two decades Rabbi Mordechai and Henny Machlis have opened their home to an amazing assortment of Shabbat guests. mission visitors, new immigrants, drunkards, widows, orphans, Sar El volunteers for Israel, Birthright participants, and truth seekers.Every week 60-100 guests show up for Friday night dinner, and an equal number for Shabbat lunch. Travelers, yeshiva students, university students, the homeless, the mentally ill, Hadassah ladies, tourists, lost souls, U. While most of their guests are from English-speaking countries, the Machlis family has hosted people from every continent, and from countries as far away as Japan, China, and the Philippines.