During the course of the day we went to various stores and business, but we hadn’t bumped into any Jews yet. Before we left the plaza we decided to stop at one last business: Allstate Insurance. The name on the door didn’t seem Jewish, but we decided to give it a try.

As soon as we walked in, the man behind the desk looked up and sang out with a smile: “What are two Jewish boychiks doing in town?”

We quickly took our places around his desk. He began to speak. For two hours we hardly said anything; we were just fascinated by what we heard. His Hebrew name is Aryeh. He was born in the early ’40s and he grew up in Levittown, PA. His parents were religious Jews, and there was a small traditional community there.

With tears in his eyes, he told us that we brought him back memories from his childhood.

He began describing Friday afternoon shopping for Shabbat with his mother and little sister. First they would stop at the shlachthoiz (Yiddish for slaughterhouse), where the shochet (ritual slaughterer) would expertly slaughter the chicken that they selected. Afterwards they would take it home to salt out the blood. The next stop was the fish store. They picked up a carp, with which they would make their gefilte fish. Life in the olden days featured a horse and wagon that would pull up in front of their house with fruits and vegetables. And, of course, ice was delivered for the icebox that served as a refrigerator.

Sadly, Aryeh lost his parents at a young age, and hadn’t kept up with his religious upbringing. Aryeh wrapped tefillin with us, and related that that last time he had done so was when he was a young teenager.

A few days later, we visited him again to say goodbye before heading back to New York. He told us that, as a result of his recent reawakening, he and his wife have decided to visit Israel for the first time in his life.