The Matzav Shmoooze: A Kiddush Hashem – “Wearing a Yamaka and Having His Strings”


walletDear Editor,

Here is a letter regarding a kiddush Hashem that was performed by a talmid of a yeshiva where I am a rebbi, and the effect it had on a secular Jew. It was so special, I felt it should be shared by as many as possible.

Kol tuv.

A. Shapiro

[The letter is presented as it was received, with any editing.]

Good evening,

I am writing to you because of how inspired I am by one of your students, Ethan Yousifzaideh.

At around 4pm today I was in West La College to watch my son’s Track and Field team and YULA was also competing in it. At around 6pm I got home and realized that my wallet was lost and I knew that It must have fallen out while I was still on the field. Terrified, I did not expect to ever get it back again and I had around $350 in it. In addition I had my credit cards, Id, gift cards and a lot more items with sentimental value. I knew that there were over 200 students and parents alike and did not expect any body would return this. The truth is I am not sure if my children or even I would ever return something with such great value. However, I was wrong.

At around 7pm I heard a knock on my door with a Jewish kid wearing a Yamaka and having his strings. He had followed the address on my driver license and personally delivered it to me all the way to woodland hills. I gave him a hug and asked him what made him do such a kind thing that anybody else I knew wouldn’t and he told me that “this is the moral thing to do”. He explained that he’s Jewish and has been attending a Jewish private school since pre-school and has been taught to do what is morally right including returning lost items.

Shocked, I became quiet for a few second thinking of how I could repay him and finally decided to take out my credit cards and I’ds and hand all the $347 cash to him as a way to reward him. But he did not accept it no matter how many times I offered. This only made me appreciate him more. We then spoke for about 10-15 more minutes and he told me about his school YULA and more about Judaism. After he left I couldn’t just forget about what happened and felt a need to repay him for doing this. I have therefore decided to donate all the $348 to the Student Council Fund that he was describing when we spoke.

I am emailing you to thank you for mentoring your students so positively. I myself am a non-religious Jew, and have secluded myself from the Jewish community. However, I am not able to turn a blind eye to something so inspiring. If this is what Jews do then I want my kids to be like your students. Inspired, I have promised myself to put more effort to learn more about my religion and finally become proud to be a Jew.

I am working to get this story into the newspapers and will be contacting the LA Times shortly because I want the whole city to know about this act of kindness and mention your school. He is a great rolemodel and though he might be humble he still deserves great recognition.

Yours truly,



The Matzav Shmoooze is a regular feature on that allows all readers to share a thought or analysis, long or short, one sentence or several paragraphs long, on any topic, for readers to mull over and comment on. Email submissions to

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  1. If you really want to honor someone like this child, take up a life of Torah and someday maybe you will have your own strings and a kippah too.

  2. My wife was once in a park and left her pocketbook behind, once she left. A half hour went by until she realized and made a rush back to the park and discovered a group of Spanish kids that were surrounding it and had called the cops, once they realized noone was claiming it. So there are good people every where

  3. wow. just to note: from west la college to woodland hills is about a 40 min to 1 hour drive (traffic depending) each way.

  4. Yossie, sometimes this is the type of experience that might bring someone to Torah. Just suggesting….

    When it comes to food, you like to served with a smile.
    Estihana on ave J is very good
    Bar mitzvah food is all sugar…
    WELL as a strings are tucked inside.
    Hey #14, why so rough with #1, you are wrong. read and comprehend.
    OH YEAH, the best yeminte soup is Davids on kings highway.
    Now where can i get a juicy and fatty unhealthy corned beef sandwich on rye.

  6. Ethan, you make us all so proud. No one would drive 45 minutes to perform such a Mitzvah!

    You are amazing! We love you!

  7. #2, I’m sure there are good people everywhere, but that really isn’t the point right now. Also, his circumstances were very different. He drove 45 minutes to give it back! wow!