Welcome to the city of Huaraz (pronounced Waraz)!

We took a seven-hour bus ride to reach this city, nestled in the mountains, 3,090 meters above sea level.

In this town you are either a local or a mochilero (backpacker). While most of the foreigners were climbing mountains, we were busy trekking through the city trying to find a place to lodge. The problem is that July 28 is a grand Fiesta: Peru's Independence Day and all hotels and hostels are booked solid. It took us a hot, long, sticky two hours until we found a resting place – for the right price of course.

Now we had to prepare a Shabbat meal for all of our Israeli mitayalim (Hebrew for mochilero). My partner and I have more experience studying in a yeshiva than working in a kitchen, there is no reason to worry, because G‑d always provides.

Pre-Shabbat prayers
Pre-Shabbat prayers
At 11 AM, a group of four friendly mitayalim set up shop in our place and cooked the whole afternoon away. They made chicken, rice, salad, and then some.

An amazing sixty people showed up for the meal! We sang songs and shared words of inspiration until late into the night.

Another forty-five Jews attended the meal on Shabbat day.

All in all, it was a great Shabbat.

On Sunday, we visited the Israeli hostels and walked around the city. We bumped into many Israelis and had some stimulating conversations about belief in G‑d and other such weighty matters.

As the sun was nearly setting, we popped in the supermarket to buy some much needed water. We met two of our Shabbat friends and offered them the opportunity to lay Tefillin.

"In middle of the street?"

Tefillin in high in the sky
Tefillin in high in the sky


"No, we can't do that."

So we went to his hotel on the other side of town (only 15 minutes of walking) and did our thing.

On our way back, we heard a man tell his friend "Hey, look, two Hasidim!"

After days of Hebrew and Spanish, it sure was refreshing to hear some American English!

Bill (an art director) and Gary (a writer) are both New York Jews. Surprisingly, neither of them had put on Tefillin since their Bar-Mitzvahs.

To report next time from Ica, Peru,

Rafi and Mendel