Eric is a proud Jew who was raised in South Africa. After living in Israel for eight years, he moved to Ireland where he works as an anesthesiologist. A few years back, he bought a pair of Tefillin from the roving rabbis, which he has been putting on every weekday since. Of course, he was excited to meet with us, despite the fact that he had other company scheduled for that evening.

Our conversation ranged from kabalistic minutiae to why G‑d created us with a foreskin if he wanted us to remove it anyway. Eric mentioned that a Jewish friend of his from Capetown happened to be doing a month long locum (doctor talk for being placed somewhere temporarily) in a nearby city, and though his month was nearly over, he would probably enjoy a visit. We, of course, thought that it was a marvelous idea and took down his contact info. When we were in the area where his friend was staying, we called him and arranged a meeting for Wednesday evening.

When we met Ed on the appointed Wednesday evening, he was delighted to see us, since we were the first and only visitors he had had throughout his entire stay. He too keeps kosher, so we brought up three MSG laden soup cups and sat down to eat and talk. We spoke about his family, his job, Chabad, some Jewish jokes, and some Torah thoughts and all-in-all had a wonderful time.

The kind of photo where one normally sees this kind of kippa
The kind of photo where one normally sees this kind of kippa

As we were about to take leave, he told us that one of his fellow doctors at the hospital brought him a book titled "The Jews of Ireland," saying that he thought Ed would like to read it. When Ed returned it to him a couple days later, the doctor mentioned that it just so happens that his mother was Jewish. However he was not raised in the faith and doesn't consider himself Jewish.

Immediately, the "Lubavitcher bells" inside us started ringing, and we excitedly began to explain how since his mother was Jewish, he's Jewish too, and that we would really like to meet him. Ed told us his buddy's name and promised to get us his contact info.

We didn't wait for Ed to call, looked the friend up in the phonebook, and dropped him a line. Since he didn't view himself as a Jew, he was not exactly sure what we wanted from him, but agreed to a quick visit.

He lives on 60 acres of farmland, which his wife works and he finances as a radiologist. He warmly welcomed us to his home, and a nice conversation about this, that, the other, and then some ensued.

He told us of his grandfather who had moved to Ireland from Eastern Europe, how his mother had married an Irish psychotherapist ("he was a pure Freudian!"), and the Holocaust survivors who frequented his home, seeking counsel from his father. After about an hour of healthy banter, we were ready to leave but explained that before we go, we like to offer the people we meet the opportunity to put on Tefillin. He told us that he had never worn Tefillin in his life but was willing to give it a try.

When we took out a kippa, he exclaimed, "I have one of my own!" and went to the next room to bring it. He came back with a kippa the likes of which I've only seen in faded black and white pictures. It was more box-like than round, with a button in the center. "This belonged to my Zeide, and I took it after he died," he explained.

We reflected on the unbelievable turn of events which led us to chance upon this long lost Jew, who wore his grandfather's kippa on the occasion of his first Tefillin laying.

He placed this giant kippa (which had not been on a head in a good fifty years) on his head and we wrapped him up. He recited the Shema, and we offered to take a picture which we could email him at a later occasion.

As we stood together and smiled for the picture, he commented, "My mother would have liked to see a copy of that photo," to which we responded in unison "She doesn't need to, because she and your Zeide are both present at this very moment, beaming with pride."

He asked that we not post the picture on the web, so you'll just have to imagine what we looked like.