Living Kiddush Hashem: The Neo-Nazi | by Rabbi Shraga Freedman

Daniel Kravitz, the owner of a secondhand furniture shop in Denver, was taken aback by the customer who entered his store. The young man was dressed like a hoodlum, with a shaved head and bare arms covered with tattoos including the venomous message, “Kill Jews!” It was clear that he was a neo-Nazi.

Daniel was relieved that his yarmulka was concealed beneath a cap.

He spent the next hour assisting his customer. He took the man on a tour of the shop, helped him select a decent array of furniture, granted him a generous discount, and then helped the young neo-Nazi load his purchases into a pickup truck.

After looking the man over carefully to make sure he wasn’t carrying any weapons, Daniel cautiously said, “Tell me, do you really feel what all those tattoos say?”

“You bet I do,” the man replied.

“Have you ever hurt anyone?” Daniel pressed.


Daniel paused, then asked, “What do you have against the Jews?”

“They are thieves and liars!” The customer launched into a tirade, spewing out every imaginable anti-Semitic stereotype.

Daniel patiently listened until the man finished speaking. Then he removed his cap to reveal his yarmulka and said, “Are you aware that you have just spent an hour with a Jew? Haven’t I been honest, kind, and generous this whole time?”

The neo-Nazi gaped in disbelief. “No way! You can’t be a Jew, man!”

Daniel motioned to the mezuzah on the door and then showed him a siddur on his desk. “You can see very clearly that I am Jewish, and I’m not at all like the image you have of Jews. You have been brainwashed. I can’t believe that your parents raised you with this kind of hate. You must be estranged from them,” Daniel surmised.

The neo-Nazi grimly confirmed his suspicions; he hadn’t spoken to his parents in ten years. Just then another costumer came in and Daniel wished the neo-Nazi a good day and turned to assist the other customer.

Six months later, the man returned to the store, this time with a full head of hair, decent clothes and long sleeves to conceal his tattoos. To Daniel’s surprise, the man embraced him warmly.

“I need to apologize to you and thank you,” he said tearfully. “You made me reassess everything I had believed. Thanks to you, I now know what a Jew is, and I’ve decided to turn my life around. I’ve even reconnected with my parents.” 

In Shaarei Teshuvah (3:158), Rabbeinu Yonah sets forth a fundamental principle: the reason that Hashem selected the Jewish nation, and sanctified them with His Torah and mitzvos, is entirely so that they would fear Him and sanctify His name. In other words, kiddush Hashem is the raison d’etre of the Jewish people. Not only is it a mitzvah of great significance; it is the sum total of our mission on this world.

Don’t underestimate the amount of light one act can bring to the world.

Rabbi Shraga Freedman is the author of Sefer Mekadshei Shemecha, Living Kiddush Hashem and A Life Worth Living; stories and ideas for constant Kiddush Hashem published by Artscroll Mesorah. These stories are being printed with permission from Artscroll Mesorah. Please email [email protected] or visit for a free download of sefer Mekadshei Shemecha, school curricula, and other resources.

This content, and any other content on TLS, may not be republished or reproduced without prior permission from TLS. Copying or reproducing our content is both against the law and against Halacha. To inquire about using our content, including videos or photos, email us at [email protected].

Stay up to date with our news alerts by following us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

**Click here to join over 20,000 receiving our Whatsapp Status updates!**

**Click here to join the official TLS WhatsApp Community!**

Got a news tip? Email us at [email protected], Text 415-857-2667, or WhatsApp 609-661-8668.


  1. I love reading these stories. Poor man was misled and probably suffered, finding solace in blaming Jews for his poor state.
    BH, hopefully a happy ending.

  2. Reminds me of college when I used to sit next to a guy that looked and dressed like a skinhead, but wasn’t a Neo-Nazi. I never told him I was Jewish.
    Once, when walking to our cars he said, “I’ll see you on Thursday”
    I said, “I won’t be here because it’s a Jewish holiday”
    He said, “My mom was raised Orthodox but when she married my Non-Jewish dad, her family stopped talking to her.”
    Jews always seem to find each other.

  3. Wow !! Beautiful story. Sadly, though, for every one story you hear about a Jew-hater turning his life around after having a positive meeting with a Jew, there are 1,000 haters who will never change their minds.

Comments are closed.