The father and son were walking away from the Kotel when I invited them to put on tefillin. The father insisted that he could not put them on, "But I do not even know how to do it."
"That's what I'm here for."
I gently pulled them in. They had never put on tefillin before. The father moved from Russia to America before the boy was born.
The boy read the "Shema" in English and his father read it in Russian. I had the father bless his son and I showed them how to pray for their family and all that they needed.
When they finished, I explained to the boy why it is so important for him to marry a Jewish girl. The father agreed. The father, wanting to show me how important being Jewish is to them, happily told me, "Every Yom Kippur we go to the Reform Temple."
I said, "It is better for you to go to an Orthodox synagogue, some place like a Chabad House, even though you are not going to follow all their rules than to go to a Reform Temple and follow their customs completely."
I told him that the Reform movement and other break off movements from Torah-Judaism want to make it easy for Jews to stay even somewhat religious so they water down, or even completely change many of the basic teaching of the Torah. They think that they are helping the Jewish people, but they are not.
"The Reform customs do not follow even the basic rules of Torah, for instance they say that even if your father is Jewish and your mother is not, you are Jewish, but the Torah clearly says that your mother has to be Jewish for you to be Jewish. The same is true about many other basic teachings of the Reform movement."
"You can do whatever you like. If you feel that following the orthodox rules, like the rules of kosher eating are too difficult for you for now, then eat whatever you like. But you should know the difference between food that is allowed by the Torah and food that is not allowed. Then some day, if you want you can begin to eat just kosher food. This is much better than thinking that the non-kosher food is kosher.
It is better to not do all that the Torah says is right to do, knowing that what you are doing is not right, than to do things that the Torah says are wrong to do, thinking that what you are doing is right.
We took pictures of them smiling with tefillin on and they walked away happy, with a lot of new, important information. Those five minutes were probably the most important five minutes of their entire trip.