Rabbi Shmuel Vishedsky, Chabad rabbi in Kobe, Japan, is a force to be reckoned with. He arrived in Kobe with his family less than a year ago, to help and invigorate the existing Jewish Community Center. He has since worked tirelessly “to contact every Jew within a four-hour train ride radius.” Since most trains in Japan are bullet trains, he will have his hands full for quite some time!

When we arrived in Japan after a long, exhausting flight, Rabbi Vishedsky welcomed us into his home, and we were quickly swept up in his enthusiasm and excitement for the upcoming holiday. Emails poured in, phones were ringing, and over 300 people had made reservations for the Seder, which would be held in conjunction with the Jewish Community Center.

In the days preceding Passover we helped Rabbi Vishedsky visit his Jewish friends around town to deliver matzahs, put on tefillin, and invite them to the Seder.

We noticed that the rabbi greeted almost all passersby with a hearty “Shalom!” Most nodded politely, until one man returned his greeting! We began chatting and discovered that his name was Dan and he had been born in Germany to Jewish parents, the children of survivors. Though both his parents had been raised without religion, for some reason they chose to marry Jewishly. Dan grew up in a home like his parents, completely devoid of religion. All he know was that he was Jewish.

After law school, Dan left Germany for Duba, and we happened to bump into him as he was visiting Japan for the famous cherry blossom season. At that point, Rabbi Vishedsky interrupted him. “Dan, would you please join us for the Seder?”

We didn't think he would accept the invitation; it’s a big commitment for someone who hardly knows what a Seder is, but to our surprise Dan replied that he would love to, and we gave him the information he needed.

The Seder in Kobe was beautiful. Young and old, locals and tourists, students and businessmen, we sat together, celebrating the traditions that unite us. Dan very much enjoyed himself, and stayed until after the end of the Seder.

We chatted some more before he went home, and he told us that he had decided to start lighting Shabbat candles every week. At one point during the evening, Rabbi Vishedsky had mentioned the recent horrific Brooklyn fire which had claimed the lives of seven children of Gabriel Sassoon, who was born and bred in Kobe. The Rabbi urged the assembled to take upon themselves a good deed in memory of the children. “It’s hard to be very Jewish in Dubai, but I will start with that." Dan said, adding, "Who knows where it will take me?”

We don't know either, but we are confident that Dan's Shabbat candles in Dubai will dispel a great amount of darkness.