We asked if there were any Jews in the bookstore, and were told that that there may be some in the adjacent vegan café.

Solomon, who works at the café, is Jewish. A short conversation revealed that he has not had much exposure to Jewish practice. In fact, he lives in a town with no synagogue and does not seem to mind that at all… We made an appointment to meet the next day to put on tefillin. When the time arrived, he led us to a nearby park where we sat down to chat.

After putting on tefillin, we realized that it was the first time in his life that he had ever had the opportunity to do this mitzvah. "In that case," we told him, "in a sense, today is your bar mitzvah!"

"Well," said he, "that makes sense, considering that I am 31 years old, and 31 is the inverse of 13. Now that you mention it, it is the 13th day of the month, so it really is a good day to have a bar mitzvah…"

Afterwards, he invited us to have a meal at his vegan café. This lead to an enlightening conversation about kosher, and why vegan and kosher are not always the same.