Harry and Susie Zettel, originally from Toronto and now in Ramat Bet Shemesh, are a magazine-cover couple and an Aliya success story. Just yesterday, I received this amazing letter from them that I'd like to share with you:
Dear Rabbi Brody,
Two years ago, I took my eldest son who was 12 to Uman for Rosh Hashanah as a pre- Bar Mitzvah present.
Baruch Hashem, we have 5 children. One of our children, David (age 10, left), is developmentally delayed and suffers from epilepsy. Despite all the doctors negative predictions for David, David has continued to exceed all our expectations. His progress has made the doctor's predictions look silly. We made Aliyah almost 5 years ago from Canada; we thought that David would take 10 years to learn Hebrew, but thank G-d, his Hebrew today is better than some of my "Normal Children".
David has always had a very spiritual soul, he loves music and loves to dance (especially on his father's shoulder). However, David also has an uncontrollable streak, where he is subject to bad temper tantrums, where his teachers and mother have had a hard time controlling him.
Last year, when it was getting close to Rosh Hashanah, I asked my wife if she would mind if I went to Uman again this year. I was planning on taking our 7 year old boy with me this year. My wife said that I could go but I had to take all our boys (ages 13, 10 and 7) as she would find it hard to cope with all the boys, especially David without me being home. Financially this was a big struggle, but I thought it would be a great opportunity to bond with the children and to give them a great spiritual experience.
Most of my friends thought that I was nuts to travel with David to Uman, as he needs constant supervision. Well, we all traveled to Uman. I was able to pray while David played with other children. Daily we visited the Kever of Rebbe Nachman and sang and danced at night. We even took a full day trip to visit and pray by the graves of Rabbi Natan, The Baal Shem Tov, and Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev.
My wife has commented to me on many occasions that since the trip to Uman, David has been a lot more calm and his tantrums has decreased dramatically.
My wife and I believe that David received a very spiritual gift in Uman , the gift of being more at peace and calm with himself, which has also paid dividends to the family as a whole.
Best regards, Harry from Bet Shemesh