On our flight to Berlin, we had been hoping that the third seat in our row would be empty. After all, who couldn’t use some more space? Right before they closed the cabin doors, a man came huffing down the aisle and took the seat next to me. At first, we sat in complete silence. Suddenly though, he turned to use and asked “Why Berlin?”

We let the question hang in the air for a moment. Why Berlin . . . after the Holocaust? Why Berlin after Nazis, and deportations and Kristallnacht? Why Berlin after decades of communism and the Berlin Wall?

“Actually,” we explained, “Today Berlin has a large and thriving Jewish community.”

It turned out that our new friend was Jewish - through his mother. He told us about his quest to reconnect, as of late, with his Jewish roots. We spoke to him about the Divine hand that had clearly led us all together.

“Do you want to put on tefillin?” we asked.

“Will I make a bracha(blessing)?" he asked excitedly, relishing the Hebrew word on his tongue?

When we landed in Berlin — that Berlin -- we put tefilin on with our new-found friend.