To the world at large Curitiba has become known as a center of industry in Brazil, and the future home of the 2015 World Cup. Over Passover, however, we experienced a very different side of the city.

We approached an Israeli backpacker and asked him if he would like to put on tefillin on. Most Israelis are at least somewhat familiar with tefillin, but this particular backpacker was able to put them on like pro.

“I used to be religious,” he told us. “Today however, I no longer practice.”

He paused for a moment and then asked if we could take a picture together. “I want to show my father that I’m doing this mitzvah,” he said.

He joined us for the Seder and was incredibly moved by the experience. We spent the night talking and singing, exploring what it means to be a Jew today in the most literal sense.

After we had finished the fourth cup and wished each other the traditional “Next Year In Jerusalem,” he became very serious.

“I can’t thank Chabad enough for this experience!" he said. "All my life I've viewed religion as a burden and overbearing fanaticism. But you guys have shown me a side of Judaism I never experienced growing up in Israel. This was such a joyful and enlightening experience. It has really changed my perspective!”