Friends, Naturally  

By Tzippy Dukes 


There are some friendships in the world that you look at and say to yourself, if only I had a friend like that one. If only everyone understood that kind of unconditional love, that realness, that kind of give and take, that strong bond, and just pure happiness to be together. Over the past four years of living in Chicago, I have witnessed a friendship just like this, and right in the comfort of my own Shul at Bais Menachem. 

I decided to do a little get together with these two guys to learn more about their relationship and what makes it tick. I’m so happy I did because what I found out touched me, and has so much more meaning now. This is a true and exemplary friendship based on mutual respect and care.  

Mr. Emanuel Zoberman speaks on his friendship with Chuck: “My friendship with Chuck is normal and we have a lot in common. We’re both on the outside looking in. People have more inside than what they express. I see that in Chuck comfortably and that’s why I’m drawn to him. I am also attracted to people who are blessed to realize their potential with which G-D A-lmighty has gifted them. That’s Chuck. In fact, I never feel like I am missing out on other conversations at Shul when I’m with Chuck, because, as the Lubavitcher Rebbe made mention, I am sitting with his General.“ 

Chuck and Emanuel both come from the same neighborhood in Chicago, Beverly. They have shared interests and experiences, reminiscing about the stores and shops, etc.  

Every Friday Night and Shabbos Day, Chuck sits right in front of Emanuel where they are tucked away in the back of the Shul and they chat like buddies do. With an occasional fist bump, they discuss Chuck’s week and joke around a bit. During kiddush, they have their set spots across from each other. Emanuel, fills up Chuck’s plate with the goodies he knows his friend loves, and when Chuck says “more chip please” Emanuel will joke around and say “oh the things I do for you” to which Chuck responds, “that’s right!” As Emanuel explains, these are the same kinds of jokes I have with any of my buddies, and it just comes naturally with Chuck. 

These two also have some other routines together such as Friday night reciting the shema and kiddush together. On holidays as Emanuel describes very poetically, “I heave my Tallis from behind. It sails up and forwards and it slowly parachutes down, blanketing me and Chuck just as the kohanim are beginning their holy words of bracha. Really, that’s how it plays out!”  

On Sunday afternoon Chuck gets a weekly visit from his friend, who also volunteers to put tefillin on some of the boys in the Libenu house. Chuck is always happy to see his buddy in the comfort of his own home when he’s just doing his regular daily routine.  

As explained to me by Emanuel, Chuck, and his mom, these two have been friends and family friends for 16 years now. Chuck knowingly nods, looks at me with a big smile and shouts, “YA!”  

Kindred Spirits. Friends for life. True friendship, between two people who may seem very different to you on the outside, but looking in and underneath it all they are very similar and just friends being friends.    

The author of this article is running in support of Friendship Circle. If you would like to donate to her campaign, please visit 

You can also get involved locally and Walk4Friendship with Friendship Circle of Illinois on Sept. 1st. For more info, please visit 





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