Unlike New York which we had just left, it was balmy and summerlike when we arrived in Florida a few days before Passover to assist Rabbi Benjaminson, Chabad rabbi to Palm Aire.

We had been visiting and bringing matzah to a Jewish family, one afternoon, and as we left the building we noticed some teenagers playing basketball nearby.

After a long winter spent mostly indoors, the thought of a good game appealed to us, and we decided to take a short break before continuing with our day.

“Hey guys, mind if we play?”

They looked at us, and at our white shirts, black pants, kippahs and tzitzit with disbelief.

But once we started playing, they were impressed!

There’s nothing like some healthy competition to foster camaraderie, and our game soon led to a friendly chat. We discovered that one of the guys, Devon, was Jewish. He was visiting his grandfather who had recently moved to the area. Well, that was more exciting than winning the game! We gave him matzah, and invited him to join us at the upcoming Seder.

“I’m going back to Ohio tomorrow night, but I’ll definitely tell my grandfather about the Seder,” Devon promised.

“Great, thanks Devon! And here’s some matzah and our contact info for your grandfather.”

Before parting ways, our new friends suggested we come back for a rematch the next day. Regretfully, we had to decline, since Passover was rapidly approaching and there was a lot of work still ahead of us.

The following morning, Devon’s grandfather, who had not yet been involved with Chabad, called to make reservations for the second Seder.

On Shabbat, at morning services, an elderly gentleman approached us. “You must be the boys who beat my grandson and his friends,” he said with a chuckle. “They were sure they’d run you guys over!” We spoke for a while, and then Rabbi Benjaminson invited him to join his family for Shabbat lunch. He gladly accepted, and we all had a lovely afternoon.

That night at the Seder, he stood up and told the crowd how he came to join the Seder.

“If not for that basketball game, I wouldn’t be here tonight. Thank you to these talented young rabbis, who can also play a mean game!”