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Passover Snippets From Around the World

Passover Snippets From Around the World

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A few days after Passover, we emailed all of the 622 roving rabbis who had participated in this year’s program, asking them to share a highlight from their Seder. Below are a few responses that we’ve selected—regretfully there isn’t enough space to feature all the inspirational moments!

Mendy Wolff travelled to the historic city of Izmail, Ukraine, located on the Danube River:

At the Seder, there was a 93-year-old man who was hard of hearing because of his advanced age. Nonetheless, he enjoyed the Seder immensely, telling us how much it reminded him of his childhood and his beloved grandfather. As the night drew to a close, he told everyone that he would meet them again next year at the Seder in Jerusalem. I replied that he didn’t have to wait until next year, he is welcome to join us the next morning for services. I didn’t think he would come since I wasn’t sure if he had heard me clearly, and even if he had, it was understandably quite difficult for him to get around. Imagine my surprise when he walked into the synagogue the next morning. Not only that, he actually completed our minyan!

Preparing for the Seder in Izmail, Ukraine
Preparing for the Seder in Izmail, Ukraine

The Danube River flows through 10 European countries, including Hungary. Shraga Orgad assisted Chabad Rabbi Shmuel Raskin with the large community Seder in Budapest:

As night fell, we could see the Danube River glistening though the floor-to-ceiling windows in the Budapest Marriot. Our guests were finding their seats, and there was a buzz of anticipation in the air. Rabbi Shmuel Raskin began the evening with these words. “Dear friends, we are sitting here without fear and about to begin a royal Seder. But we need to stop for a moment and gaze out at the Danube River, at the ‘Shoes on the Danube Bank’ memorial. Thousands of Jews were slaughtered, for the mere crime of being born a Jew, while the world watched and thought that the Nazis would bring about the Final Solution. Yet tonight, here are 600 Jewish men, women, and children, celebrating Passover together on the banks of that very river.” As soon as the Rabbi concluded his remarks, our guests began singing “V’hi Sheamdah.” There wasn’t a dry eye in the room...

On the banks of the Danube River
On the banks of the Danube River

Not only has the Jewish nation survived, we have defied all expectations. Did you know that there is a Jewish community in Reykjavik, Iceland? Naftali Pewzner shares:

What an amazing and uplifting Seder here in Reykjavik! We had an unprecedented 87 Jewish people from all backgrounds and countries coming together to celebrate what we all have in common. Passover commemorates the humble beginning of the Jewish nation, and at our Seder every individual had something to share and bring to the table.

There are approximately 100 Jewish residents in Iceland, as well as an ever-increasing number of Jewish tourists who chose to spend time on this magnificent Nordic island.

While Iceland still lacks proper Jewish infrastructure, the yearly Iceland Seder as part of Chabad’s Roving Rabbis program has been bringing Iceland's Jews together, allowing them to celebrate their heritage and connect with each other in a warm, welcoming setting.

This year we hosted a woman and her daughter for their very first Seder–in fact, their very first Jewish experience. We had just met them earlier that week. Their Jewish mother (grandmother) had immigrated to Iceland from Denmark nearly 50 years ago, and had completely hidden her Judaism. For them to reclaim their heritage, in the presence of so many other local Jews, was a proud and beautiful moment.

While a large percentage of our rabbis do spend Passover in Europe, there was actually a Chabad Seder on every continent aside from Antarctica. Shneur Zalman Eisenberg flew nearly 10,000 miles to Sandton, South Africa.

Our first Seder was big and boisterous, with a crowd of tourists from around the world. The second Seder was smaller and more intimate. We received lots of positive feedback about both nights. Two women joined us for the second night, and unfortunately they had both just recently experienced tragedies—one had lost her husband the other had lost her child. Was the size of our Seder Divine Providence, so that we could really focus on them? At the conclusion of the Seder, one of them told us that she feels that G‑d will help her break free from her challenges. It was apparent that they were both leaving in a much better frame of mind.


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