A true story shared by Channalee Fischer Schlisser –
As the owner and operator of The Challah Fairy, a bakery and full-service dairy and chalav Yisrael cafe in New City, New York, I often find myself with unique opportunities. Actually, I don’t find them—I look for them.
Hashem has blessed me in many ways; one of those is the love to help people, make them smile, add to their happiness and show that there are still good people out there.
Two weeks ago I received a post in our family chat with a beautiful video of Camp Simcha. My sister was posting, showing us where her daughter would be working for two weeks this summer.
As I watched the video I recalled that last year I had wanted to call Camp Simcha but never got around to it. So many people have good thoughts and wonderful intentions, but actually putting pen to the paper oftentimes doesn’t materialize.
As it was a busy day in the cafe, catering lunches for office meetings and taking care of the many customers who come to our cafe for our incredible food and super salad bar, I didn’t get around to making the call until later in the day. And this is exactly how it happened…
I called Camp Simcha. A pleasant young lady answered the phone. I said, “My name is Chanalee Fischer. I run a business in New City, The Challah Fairy. I just watched a video of Camp Simcha and I know that your summer is already set and programs have been arranged months ago, but just in case you have a cancellation or rain date, I would like to donate my time and product to the camp for an evening or afternoon of challah baking. That means that I bring along all the dough already mixed, all the topping that our challahs are famous for (vanilla crumbs, cinnamon crumbs, chocolate chips, etc.…) cutting boards, sharp knives, and pans in which to bake the challahs.”
Before I hung up, I asked, “Do you know The Challah Fairy?” To my disappointment, she had never tasted my challah. In response to my request for a return phone call, she said she would have someone call me in a week or two. Huh? I thought. A week or two?
Ten minutes later my cell phone rang.
“Hi, is this The Challah Fairy?”
When I responded in the affirmative, she continued, “Hi, my name is Shaindy Lowenthal. I run Camp Simcha and do all the programming. You are not going to believe what just happened.”
I asked if I should sit down. I love good drama.
“I am sitting here in my office with 15 of my staff and counselors,” Shaindy said. “Camp started this week. We have all our night activities planned for the entire summer. Tomorrow (Thursday) night’s activity was just canceled. I called Rabbi Scholar and told him that I want to bake challahs with the campers and counselors. Each camper has his own counselor, so that means enough challah for 200 people. Rabbi Scholar said that since new carpeting was just installed in the dining room, there would be no challah baking at all. He said that flour flying all over the room and water splattering on the floor is a recipe for disaster and his answer was no.”
Shaindy continued, “Suddenly the phone on my desk rang. Mind you, Chanalee, the receptionist did not know that I had a meeting, she did not know about a cancellation of evening activities, she certainly did not know that I wanted to bake challahs and she never gives me messages as soon as they arrive, and yet I am in the office with 15 staff members, silently praying to Hashem to make this happen and my desk phone rings. ‘Who is calling me now?’ I’m thinking. I gingerly lift the receiver and the receptionist is on the phone, and she says, ‘I just got a call from a woman who says she’s The Challah Fairy, and she wants to offer her time and services to the camp.’ First thing I did was ask all my staff members to leave my office.Then I looked up to heaven and thanked Hashem. I said, ‘Hashem, I just asked You to please help me make this happen. I’m sitting in my office with all of my staff members and trying to figure it out, and not two minutes later, You made it happen!’”
I could easily have called her the next day or the following week, but I called when I did and wow…did I feel good.
That is a perfect example of hashgachah pratis. After a brief discussion, I told Shaindy to please call me that evening to confirm. She said, “No! No! No! I’m confirming this right now.”
And so, I drove up to Camp Simcha on late Thursday afternoon, accompanied by one of my sisters. We had 120 pounds of dough already mixed, and all the extras required to make it a fun and fabulous evening. The head counselor got up to tell the campers and counselors how the evening had came about. I spoke about myself and my business and how I got started (I do that really well!), and we had an incredible evening.
The brachah of hafrashas challah was given to a young lady who needs a refuah, and I got a small taste of what it’s like to be a part of the incredible family of Camp Simcha. They, on the other hand, got a small taste of what it means to be The Challah Fairy.
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