By Chaya Silber
Project Inspire, the world-renowned movement that teaches, guides, and encourages Klal Yisrael to reach out and inspire less-affiliated Jews, is well known for witty and insightful productions. The Spark, however, is so awe-inspiring, it’s in a class of its own.
The incredible tale of That Spark, the Pintele Yid, the amazing presentation shown to audiences around the globe on Tishah B’Av, was received with critical acclaim. Written and directed by Yossie Friedman and hosted by Rabbi Yaakov Salomon, the production is a master of intrigue and suspense, up until its powerful denouement.
The video begins with a powerful message from Rav Moshe Tuvia Lieff, rav of Agudas Yisroel Bais Binyomin of Flatbush, relating a kiruv story that happened to him on his way to shul.
All this whets our appetite for the main course, the incredible story of the unbreakable bond between a trial lawyer, Mike Kopple, and his newfound lawyer friend, Michael Eisenberg.
Mike Kopple, an up-and-coming attorney, was first introduced to Eisenberg, a chassidishe Yid with a shtreimel and bekeshe, as a possible business associate. But first came Shabbat dinner at Eisenberg’s home, which changed Mike’s life. Today Mike Kopple is happily married, the proud father of three young children.
Yet, as Rabbi Salomon expressed, “Michael Eisenberg wasn’t born with a shtreimel on his head.” This incredible story really started 21 years ago.
In his youth he was an aspiring law student, who happened to spend a semester studying at Tel Aviv University. While hoping to say Kaddish for his beloved grandfather, Michael approached Clive Lipschitz, a fellow student with a kippah on his head. Clive didn’t just answer his question—he reached out and invited Michael into his life.
Several years later, Michael married his eishes chayil and lives in L.A., where he is raising a beautiful, large family while working as a lawyer. But in the words of Mike Kopple, one of his closest friends, “The law office is simply a front for kiruv. Michael is always looking for a way to inspire someone.”
Incredibly, Clive Lipschitz thought he had done nothing special—just extended his hand with an offer of friendship. He had no idea of the domino effect his friendship with Michael created, so many years later.
Interviewing both Michael and Mike, Rabbi Salomon then met with Clive, introducing him to the family he never met—Mike Kopple’s children, who are truly ‘his’ children.
“I never opened a sefer to learn with him,” Clive said, his voice breaking with emotion, as he reflected on the past. “Some people choose to do it that way, and that’s fine, but for me this was just friendship. All I did was extend a hand, igniting a spark that was just waiting to be lit.”
As Rabbi Yaakov Salomon expressed on Project Inspire’s Radio Show to end the fast, “What was amazing to me was to see the power of a seemingly small act and see the chain that it created. To sit there and experience it with all three parties was not only a learning experience, but it might have been the greatest moment in kiruv film history.”
How will we react the next time we meet a stranger who happens to be Jewish? Will we just nod and continue with our errands, or will we stop and extend a hand and an invitation for a Shabbos meal?
To contact Project Inspire, visit www.kiruv.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 646-291-6191. ϖ