Menachem and some friends from Jerusalem were in Austria, on their if-this-is-Monday-it’s got-to-be-Italy one-week trip of Europe.

It was Saturday night, Shabbat was over, and when they left their hotel they realized that the light in their car had been on all day.

They returned to the hotel to borrow cables, as they knew the car’s battery would be dead, but after several attempts they realized it wasn’t going to help.

They realized that the light in their car had been on all dayAnother possibility was to let the car jump-start itself by rolling down an incline in gear. This appeared to work, and the engine started up, but the boys decided to drive for another four or five kilometers to recharge the engine. However, instead of gaining strength, the car slowly came to a complete stop.

Stuck now, a good hour’s walk from the hotel and with Hebrew the only language in which they were fluent, they wondered what or who they should call to get help.

By now it was 1:00 AM. Austria was in the middle of its famous annual Beer Festival, and the Israelis were keen to get off the road.

Suddenly, to their surprise, a car pulled over and a very Aryan-looking man got out, walked over to them and asked if he could help. They pointed to the car battery, and he understood and returned to his car, brought out electric jump leads which he attached to their car and his, and said he’d remain in his car for fifteen to twenty minutes to give their battery a chance to recharge.

Delighted at their middle-of-the-night good fortune, the young Israelis returned to their car to wait.

After the allotted twenty minutes, their car still wouldn’t start on its own. The young Austrian wasn’t daunted. He decided the problem was that his cables were for a smaller car, and he said he’d return home and get stronger ones.

To their even greater astonishment, half an hour later he returned, attached the new cables, and said he’d wait for fifteen minutes.

The time went by and the car still didn’t start. By now Menachem and his friends were beginning to feel uncomfortable. This Austrian had his wife and daughter in the car with him, and he’d already spent over an hour trying to help them, so they tried to brush off his further attempts to help and send him on his way.

But he refused to be put off, and insisted he’d wait another half an hour.

Tired of sitting in their car on this pleasant, balmy evening, the Israelis got out and stood on the safe, hard shoulder of the road. They soon naturally broke out into song, and before they knew it, they were dancing together in a circle in true Jewish style.

Suddenly the Austrian’s car door opened and he walked over to them. Thinking that he was about to abandon them because they were crazy, the young men stopped dancing, but their new friend urged them to continue, and asked if he could join in.

Suddenly the Austrian’s car door opened and he walked over to themAfter a circle or two he turned to Menachem and said. “You Jewish, right? I like Jews.”

The man pointed to his car. “My wife and daughter don’t love Jews so much, but I do.”

He was quiet for a moment. “My Baba Yude,” he said, and the boys understood—from its closeness to Yiddish—that his grandmother was Jewish. “I like Jews.”

Lightbulbs were flashing in the young men’s heads In a combination of Yiddish and English they all asked him simultaneously. “Mother of mother, or mother of father?” But they guessed the answer even before he said it.

“Mother of mother.”

“My friend,” said Menachem, “You are Jewish.”

The man was visibly moved and delighted.

Menachem took out a kippah, placed it on the young Austrian’s head, and poured him a glass of water.

“You can now do your first Jewish mitzvah, commandment, and say a blessing over this glass of water.”

His voice filled with emotion, the Austrian recited after Menachem in a clear and loud voice, “Baruch atah Ado‑nai, Elo‑heinu melech ha’olam, shehakol nihiyah bid’varo” (Blessed are You, L‑rd our G‑d, King of the universe, by whose word all things came to be). And the young Israelis shouted, Amen!”

As Menachem explained later, “This man had just discovered he was Jewish, and made a blessing for the first time in his life. We finally understood why our car had broken down. Clearly, it was for us to be able to meet this special man. We were all so moved by the experience that we didn’t even care that we had been stuck for hours with possibly more to go. But in the end we didn’t need to, because this time, when we started the car . . . it worked!”