Towards the end of a day full of meetings and excitement, we decided to go at the Port of Genoa, a huge tourist attraction with a world-famous aquarium, hoping to bump into some Jews.

After walking back and forth on the seaside walkway, and meeting two Jewish couples from France who were surprised and amazed to see us, I was ready to call it a day. But Yossi said, "Just one more time and then we go." Too exhausted to argue, I accompanied him on another stroll around the port. We decided to sit down on a bench and give our weary feet a rest.

As we sat there chatting about the events of the day, an old man approached and asked us if we minded being so dressed up in the heat—referring to our trademark black hats and suit jackets.

Not missing a beat, Yossi asked our new friend, Giorgio, if he was Jewish. He replied that he was not. In response to our query whether he was related to any Jewish people, he told us that that his maternal grandmother was Jewish, and her name was Clelia Morgantini-Bellatalla.

We told him that Judaism is matrilineal, and that means that he is Jewish, as Jewish as Moses, King David and the president of the tempio (synagogue).

Right then and there, for the first time in his life, Giorgio donned tefillin and recited the Shema.

Thank G‑d for the hats and jackets we always wear—even in the summertime heat!

Helping Giorgio with the Shema for the first time in his life.
Helping Giorgio with the Shema for the first time in his life.