|A parting gift from the northern city of Iquique.|
|At the site of what is said to become the world's largest dairy plant.|
Looking back at the outstanding weeks we spent roving through Vietnam we can reflect on our time working with Jews here. We began in Hanoi, where we divided our time between meeting with the local Jewish community and walking the streets meeting Israeli tourists, ready to give them the opportunity to put on tefillin or just to schmooze with another Jew in Northern Vietnam.
The Jewish community here is made up people who lead a variety of lifestyles, ranging from lawyers to doctors, journalists to telecom executives, golfers, security experts and travel agents.
Here are some of their stories:
There was Eli, an international lawyer from Seattle, who always knew that he was Jewish but never had an opportunity to don tefillin. In a conference room surrounded by books on international commercial law and local regulations, overlooking the famous Hanoi Hilton, we celebrated his bar mitzvah, Roving-Rabbis style.
Late the following evening we visited a hospital. After a long rainy day, we were in our hotel room about to call it a night when a phone call came in from Ho Chi Minh City asking us to visit an Israeli girl who, whilst touring in Hanoi, had fallen ill and was now in the SOS International Clinic. We were more than happy to be able to offer some linguistic and moral support.
After a week in Hanoi, we headed south to Vinh City. Vinh is the site of what will become the world largest dairy farm. The construction is being planned and directed by a couple of Israeli companies. Twenty-five Jewish Israeli workers live there working on the project.
We met with the project manager who told us an inspiring story. He lived in Thailand a few years earlier. His child took ill and the doctors did not know what was causing the illness. He called his mother, who asked him, "Did you put up the mezuzah I sent to you?" He installed the mezuzah, and his child recovered immediately.
Hearing this, one of the workers asked us help him with a mezuzah, and we promptly did. After spending time with the other workers and wishing them a happy New Year we headed off to our next destination…
To sum up our trip: Roving in Vietnam ain't just roving!