Mrs. Jorgenson’s Tefillin
Rabbi Cohen served in rural Middle America where Jews were few and far between. He would travel great distances to help even a single Jew.
Because of the travel required he stayed in many Inns and farms along the way, one of which belonged to the Jorgenson family. Each morning, Mrs. Jorgenson observed Rabbi Cohen don his tallis and tefillin. She was curious about the ritual but was too shy to ask. On Rabbi Cohen’s last trip before his retirement, Mrs. Jorgenson finally got up the courage to ask.
Rabbi Cohen thought for a moment, and simply couldn’t come up with a brief explanation so he said, “It’s for my arthritis".
After he left, Mrs. Jorgenson went out and bought herself a set of tefillin – after all, she had terrible arthritis.
When the new rabbi was hired, Rabbi Newman, Rabbi Cohen gave him his route and told him to stay with the Jorgensons as they would be expecting him.
When Rabbi Newman woke up in the morning and went into the kitchen, he was shocked to find Mrs. Jorgenson sitting at the table, plucking chickens, wearing tefillin! Rabbi Newman promptly resigned, sending a message to Rabbi Cohen saying that there was no way that he could fill his shoes –Cohen was such a powerful kiruv rabbi that even the gentile women were wearing tefillin!