Bariloche, Argentina, is a tourist hotspot, popular with backpackers and sightseers who are drawn to the city's amazing natural wonders. Our attraction to Bariloche, however, was somewhat different. We were there to help Rabbi Boaz and Rebbetzin Frady Klein prepare a Seder for the hundreds of Israelis that visit the city.

Arriving after 17 hours and two plane rides, we were greeted at the Chabad house by dozens of Israelis that visit Rabbi Boaz and Frady, getting their advice about the region.

Bariloche, Argentina, is a tourist hotspot

After resting, Mendel and I went to the local supermarket. Not knowing what was kosher and unable to speak the language, we paced the aisles of the store, turning each item in all directions, checking for a kosher symbol.

As we were busily checked for ripe avocados, a middle-aged lady strolled by and exclaimed, “Shabbat Shalom,” in a heavy Spanish accent. Now, this was an extraordinary event because the Jews who go to Chabad Bariloche, are almost all Israeli backpackers. Here was an Argentinian Jewish woman, who really lived in this remote city!

I turned to her and said, “Wow. It’s so nice to hear a “Shabbat Shalom.” I never imagined hearing those words in a grocery store in the south of Argentina!”

The lady explained that she attends the Reform synagogue in Bariloche. She said that she has triplets…three boys ages 17, none of whom had had a bar mitzvah. Of course, we were more than happy to help them put on tefillin

The triplets were ecstatic to say the least. We spoke with them and decided that they should come to the Chabad house after their school for their bar mitzvah.

Just as they had promised, the triplets showed up promptly at 6pm . . . with their class of thirty students in tow! None of them had ever seen tefillin before.

None of them had ever seen tefillin before

Taking turns, the boys put on the tefillin. We put on Jewish music, made a l’chaim with everyone present, and soon the entire class was dancing. It was a sight to behold… The entire class, Jews and non-Jews, all dancing for this triple bar mitzvah!

The mother kept shaking her head in disbelief, repeating, “I never saw such a lively and heartfelt bar mitzvah in my life.”

We invited the family back for Shabbat, to hear the Torah reading and give each boy an aliya. Sure enough, the brothers did return with their mother and with them another Jewish mother and her 17-year-old son.

After each aliya to the Torah, we picked up each one of the twins on a chair and danced with him throughout the synagogue. The energy cannot be described in words. The mothers and their sons were completely consumed with joy. Of course, we then invited them all to the Chabad Bariloche Seder, scheduled to take place the following Monday night.

The night of the Seder, the mother of the triplets arrived with all four new Bar Mitzvah boys! They participated in the Seder, enjoying the matzah and all parts of the Seder that night. They told us that after this whole experience, they want very much to stay connected to Chabad of Bariloche. Their lives, and ours, will never be the same.