We arrived in Sibiu late at night. We had included it in our itinerary because it has a tiny Jewish population, who could undoubtedly use some encouragement. Also, it is one of the tourism capitals of Romania, and we were pretty confident that we would find some Jewish tourists. We checked into a hotel, and headed for bed with a sense of excitement and anticipation.

Our day began with a visit to the local synagogue, built circa 1900. We met some of the Jewish community members there, and spoke with them for a while. We told them that although their community is so small, all Jews are family and they should consider themselves parts of a whole, 15 million strong!

It was noon when we left the synagogue for our next stop, the town square, a popular local attraction. We walked around for three hours and met lots of people, but none of them were Jewish. At that point, we moved on to another part of town, but it seemed like we were having an off day. It was now 4 pm. “Let’s go back to the town square,” I told Yudi. “We need to meet at least one more Jew today!”

We spent another four hours pounding the pavement of the town square, to no avail. Dusk was falling, and it was time to call it a day.

“Mendy, let’s go to the supermarket now, and see if they have any kosher food we can pick up. You never know,” Yudi added, “we might bump into someone on the way to the car.”

The walk to the car was uneventful. We scavenged the supermarket for some kosher items, and then headed for the checkout line with quite a respectable loot. “Hi there, are you Chabad?” A middle-aged Israeli man greeted us in Hebrew! Abandoning our cart, we gave him our full attention, while keeping an eye on the clock—there were only a few minutes left to put on tefillin before nightfall. “I saw you guys walk into the store, and I told my wife—look, Chabadniks! We just had to chase you down. We followed you into the store, but you kept walking further in, and we kept running after you! Finally, we caught up with you here! Oh, I’m Itai,” he concluded with a warm smile, “and this is my wife Orly.”

“We can’t tell you how thrilled we are to meet you, Itai and Orly. In fact, this is the reason why we came to Sibiu. Itai, would you like to do the mitzvah of tefillin now? We’ve got two minutes to sundown.”

Before you could say “Tel Aviv,” Itai was proudly wearing tefillin. We then headed outside together, chatting like family. We no longer felt alone amongst the throngs of people, and we felt privileged to have witnessed G‑d’s Hand once again, this time in the form of the eleventh hour tefillin.