The other evening, we headed over to the Chabad-run restaurant, Shelanu, for dinner. As I walked inside I saw three tourists sitting at the corner table.

I had to squint to make sure I was seeing correctly, and sure enough, I was!

There, sitting in front of me, was my roommate from Stony Brook University, Jack Kurtz. (We had formed a kosher living suite in SBU. After finding six guys who wanted to keep strictly kosher, we petitioned the administration to give us a suite with a kitchen, which was kept to the highest kosher standards.) We both jumped with joy! He leaped out of his seat and we embraced in a long overdue hug. It’s been well over a year since we’ve seen or even spoken to each other last.

Jack comes from a religious Syrian Jewish family in Brooklyn, and plans to go to medical school in Israel after he graduates this upcoming year. Besides for discussing the Talmud that we had last learnt, we spent the next few hours enjoying a meal together, reminiscing and catching up.

He was in Prague only for two days, and was leaving at five in the morning. He and his friends are traveling around Europe, and are headed to Vienna next. I invited him and his friends to come join me in Yeshiva Tiferes Bachurim in Morristown for a Shabbat, and he readily agreed! It was decided that the week we both get back to the States, before he starts his new semester, he and his friends will come for a weekend.

The hashgacha pratit (divine providence) in this event is unbelievably clear to me: I had only one Jewish roommate in my entire college career, I happened to be assigned to Prague, he happened to walk into this kosher restaurant out of a couple other choices, the restaurant happened to be opened later than usual that night, so we just “happened” to bump into each other. Thank G‑d!

Simcha Evan Finkelstein