While stationed in Bangalore, India, we decided to head north to Hyderabad and visit an Israeli family living there.
Before setting out, we searched online for any other Jews living in the area. We were excited to come across J., and we sent her a message explaining that we would be visiting, and were interested in getting together with her.
Our time in Hyderabad was wonderful. We put on tefillin with our Israeli friend, had a lovely conversation with his family, and even had some time left to enjoy the historical city.
We were anxious to hear back from J., but with no internet connection, we had to wait until the evening to check if she had responded.
When we returned to our lodgings we saw an enthusiastic response with her contact details, and a warm invitation for us to visit.
It was already late at night and we had a morning flight the next day, so we weren't sure if we would be able to meet, but we resolved to try.
We called at nine the next morning, and she graciously invited us over. We told her that we were in quite a hurry to catch our flight, but since she was only a five minute drive away, we would stop by on our way to the airport.
We got into a taxi, and attempted to give the driver directions, but it was not easy with our lack of communication. We called J., and in no time her security guard and the driver were talking in rapid Hindu.
We finally arrived. She invited us in, offered us drinks, and we started talking. We all know the saying "It's a small world," but sometimes you have to travel all the way to India to really experience that. While discussing her Jewish upbringing in the States, it turned out that J. was born and bred in Natick, MA, the very town where my partner, Mendel Fogelman, lives with his family as emissaries of the Rebbe! What a fascinating display of divine providence! We had traveled 15 hours and across 10 time zones, only to meet a Jew from our own backyard.
Towards the end of our visit, we discussed the importance of lighting the Shabbat candles, which she agreed to do, starting this Shabbat.
With no time to spare, we said our goodbyes and dashed off to the airport, thankful to have met such wonderful people.