When you are doing what we do, a guy like Shulem is the kind of guy you want to have around. You see, we Roving Rabbis travel to cities all over the world. And as exotic as that sounds, it’s not always sunshine. Think of it this way: You’re a young man, fresh out of yeshivah (rabbinical college), with no training in business or public relations. Yet your job is to go out there and find people. Let’s just say that it is not always a cakewalk. But getting to know Shulem was a rewarding experience. Shulem, a fella in his mid-forties, with a warm, humorous personality, helped us spend less time as detectives and more time interacting with the local Jewish population.

Shulem lives in David, the largest city in western Panama. (We are told that it was named by Jews escaping the Spanish Inquisition. Apparently they wanted it to have a Jewish name, but not one that would attract too much unwanted attention.) We had decided to make David our hub. Our plan was to make small trips to various cities in the region, returning to David for supplies and accommodations.

On one of our trips we found ourselves in Boquete, which Forbes ranked as the #3 retirement destination in the world. As we made our way around this beautiful city with sparkling mountain air, we decided to check in with Shulem.

“Do you know anyone in Boquete?” we asked him over the phone.

Somewhat surprised, he responded with his own question, “You are in Boquete?”

“Yes, why?”

“I am in Boquete right now for a business meeting. Why don’t you come on over?”

When we got there, he was noticeably excited. “You don’t understand. Less than a minute before you called, I was telling the person next to me that I needed to call you, but I had no idea you were in town.”

We began to talk, and we soon found out that Shulem puts on tefillin every day, ever since the last group of Roving Rabbis taught him of their importance. Today he had forgotten his tefillin at home in David, and he was worried he would not be able to get home in time to put them on. We handed Shulem our pair, and he put them on with great delight.

He then said to us, “G‑d always helps me put on my tefillin. He makes sure I never miss; today, you were His messengers. Good job!”