In the course of our travels in the South London-Surrey area, we got a lead on some contacts in a city in Surrey, South England, about equidistant between London and the coast, and arranged an appointment for 6:00 on Thursday evening.

Due to our unfamiliarity with the drive, we head off on the somewhere-close-to-an-hour trek from Wimbledon at 3pm. Arriving there quite early, we decide to look up some other contacts in the area.

Off we go to our first contact, in a place called Witley. As you may already know, they haven't yet discovered house numbers in some places in England, and have house names instead! The only information we were provided was a house name and postcode, but postcodes in the UK are quite precise, and armed with a GPS (or Sat-Nav in the UK), we can get absolutely anywhere! Or so we thought.

After spending a half hour driving up and down narrow roads, squinting at the tiny house names on mailboxes, and asking every form of life if they've ever heard of 'Doverhouse' (which of course, nobody has), we give up.

Our next contact, Dena, lives about twenty minutes away. Now, with a postcode and a street name plus a house number, it'll be a piece of cake to find! Our erstwhile GPS (the cheapest one in the store), however, has other plans. It refuses to admit that a place called 'Landley Close' exists. Unless, of course, we would like to drive 5 hours to the north of England, where the GPS manages to find lots of Landley Closes. Unwilling to take 'no' for an answer (and even more unwilling to sit still in a car for three hours), we call a friend to help us find the road on our good ol' friend, Google Maps.

As we pull into Landley Close, which incidentally does exist, the entire road stops to stare. This is not the nicest area to live. With a prayer on our lips, we leave the car unattended and head to the house. It is noticeable that a mezuzah once graced the door frame of this home. Hoping against hope that Dena hasn't moved, we knock on the door.

The door is opened by a teen-aged boy. Behind him, in the house, there seems to be a party going on. "Is Dena here?" we ask. "She's sleeping," is the reply. "Are you also Jewish?" "I am," he replies, "but not them" (pointing behind him). "Wait one second, I'll go and wake her up." The people in the house seem quite surprised at our presence.

Shortly, Dena comes down. She invites us to sit down and reveals her heartbreaking story.

Dena was born in Israel and brought up in Toronto. She married a non-Jewish man, settled in England, and had three children with him; two boys and a girl. She managed to circumcise her younger son, but not the older one. A few years back, they split up.

Lately, her daughter had a severe spinal injury, and through a miracle is not paralyzed. Her son has just come home from school with lower-than-expected grades, jeopardizing his ability to get into university. To top it all off, she is feeling very sick.

We talk to her for a while, amongst other things promising to help her arrange a brit for her son.

Her elder son puts on tefillin for the first time in his life. She cries shamelessly as she stands by and watches. The energy of the moment is intense. Her other son follows suit. Finally, we conclude the ceremony with putting up a new mezuzah; her previous one having been defaced by some 'friendly' neighbors. We explain that in areas where there is concern for theft, one may install the mezuzah on the inside of the door frame.

As we turn to leave, Dena holds us back. There is something she wishes to share with us. She stands on the doorstep; we stand outside. "I want you to know," she says in a tear-choked voice, "that there is a G‑d, one who answers our prayers. Three hours ago, when I went to sleep, I had many worries on my head. I prayed to G‑d, begging him to send me some help. Three hours later, you knocked at my door." We say our goodbyes, and the door closes behind us.

As we get into our (still intact!) car, our feelings are bittersweet. Bitter for Dena and many others like her. How much longer must people endure such pain and suffering? But sweet with the knowledge that Someone up there listens, and the gratification to have had the merit of carrying the answer to her prayers. Soon, very soon, our collective prayers will be answered and we'll be freed from this long and painful exile.

Hope and faith fortified, we head off to our next meeting.

Editor's note: Some details have been modified to protect confidentiality.