Tuesday morning while parading through the mall ('parading' is a word I use for hanging around in Chassidic attire – a surefire invitation for curious people to approach us), we met quite a few people.

First was the security guard who for years had wanted to know what those tassels were and finally summoned up the courage to ask. We told him that they were Tzitzis.

The next guy we met was an Israeli fellow, who owns a few kiosks in the mall. He said he doesn't leave his house in the morning without first putting on his Tefillin. That was definitely nice to hear.

Then we turned down the next corridor and saw a young man on his way out of the mall. He stared at us, we stared at him, and then we all broke out in smiles. We walked outside and sat down in the shade. He told us his life's story, well a short version of it anyway. He was born in New York, moved to Israel as a teen, joined the army a few years later and moved back to the states when he got out. Apparently, there aren't too many black hatted Chassidim walking around Riverside because we were the first obviously Jewish people he saw since he left Israel. He decided to put on Tefillin for the first time since his Bar-Mitzvah, but for this we had to go back inside. He wanted everyone in the mall to see him proudly wearing the Tefillin and saying the Shema.

We sat down and soaked in the hustle and bustle of the busy mall. As we were leaving, a girl came over to us and said, "excuse me, are you Jewish?" For a second I was shocked! Hey, that's my line, copyrighted by Chabad!? Then she continued, telling us that she lives in Riverside, and that there is no Judaism here for her or her boyfriend. She needed to do something to feel Jewish; she just couldn't find that Jewish spark. Well, what better Jewish spark than the flame of the candles Friday night? So, after explaining what the candles were, how and when to light them, she made a resolution right then and there to light candles every Friday night. She also accepted our invitation for her and her boyfriend to join us for Shabbat.