Norway has historically always been anti-Semitic, and unfortunately it is currently home to less than a thousand Jews, most of whom live in the capital, Oslo. Rabbi Shaul and Esther Wilhelm and their children have been the Chabad emissaries there since 2004, fulfilling their mission with a level of self-sacrifice and dedication that we can only aspire to. We were thrilled to join them for Passover this year.

As soon as we arrived, we got straight to work, helping the Wilhelm family prepare for Norway’s largest Seder. This year, they were expecting close to 200 people. We shopped and schlepped, cleaned and chopped, and with all hands on deck, we were completely done by late afternoon.

We decided to use the remaining daylight hours to try to meet some Jews, offer them some matzah and the opportunity to put on tefillin, and, of course, to invite them to the Seder. The Wilhelms suggested that we go to the Royal Palace of Norway, a popular tourist attraction.

Now, this wasn’t our first time asking people if they were Jewish in a public venue. The typical reactions we’ve received in the past range from, “No, but my friends are,” to “I wish I was.” In Oslo, however, we kept hearing, “I’ve never seen a Jewish person here before.”

Determined to prove them wrong, we spent the next hour approaching people, without success. Then, we met Ben, a young Jewish man from Los Angeles! We couldn’t be happier. We gave him a box of matzah (he was leaving Norway before the Seder), and showed him our tefillin.

“What’s that?” he asked, “I’ve never seen those before.”

We explained, and he immediately agreed to wear them.

“Ben, it’s your bar mitzvah! Mazal tov!”

We grabbed Ben’s hands, and marked the occasion with a spirited Chassidic dance, likely the first to take place in the courtyard of the Royal Palace of Norway!