The first time the rabbi stopped by the Freehold Kia dealership, offering hallah and a chance to put on tefillin, no one was more surprised than owner Jay Brichke.
Brichke, 56, of Livingston said, “For the first time in my life I put on tefillin, and I found myself really embracing it.”
The visit was part of a regular program run by Rabbi Levi Wolosow, director of the Rosenberg Center for Jewish Education at Chabad of Western Monmouth County. “Rabbi Levi and a busload of rabbinical students go up and down Route 9 on Fridays visiting Jewish business owners,” said Brichke, who is also a member of Temple B’nai Abraham in Livingston. Now the rabbi and Brichke engage in private study sessions in the dealership office, and he is one of about 50 local business people who attend sessions of Chabad’s monthly Jewish Business Network.
“They go out of their way to do something for others to make them better people,” said Brichke. “It’s important to me to give thanks and give back.”
So Brichke recently launched “Kia Cash for Chabad,” through which the dealership will donate $100 to Chabad every time a new customer mentions Chabad or its Friendship Circle, which helps families of special-needs children.
Sometimes when work becomes overly stressful, Brichke said, he picks up the phone for a reality check with the rabbi. “He always tells me that Hashem runs the show. Hashem puts challenges in front of us to make us better people,” he said. “This has definitely made an impression on me, and it’s the most important lesson I can teach my children.”