Cambodia is remote by most anyone’s estimation. After nearly 20 hours of flight, we finally arrived in Phnom Penh, the capital. Our rest, however, was short lived. After staying the night, we embarked early in the morning for the 10 hour bus ride to Siem Reap.

Home to the famous Angkor Wat ruins, Siem Reap is a tourist haven. Our mission was to not only find visiting Jews and invite them to our Seder, but to find a place to host the Seder as well!

Arriving the night before the Khmer new year, it seemedCambodia is remote by most anyone’s estimation as if all the hotels in the city were already full to capacity. It was only after some two dozen attempts that we were able to find a hotel with space for our Seder. Imagine our surprise and delight when, minutes later, a woman and her daughter approached us asking if there was a Seder they could attend!

We were unsure how many people to expect, but as the holiday began, Jews from literally all over the world began to trickle in - France, Canada, Israel, Singapore, Germany, America, Portugal...

As the Jews in Siem Reap celebrated the city’s first ever public Seder, the awe in the room was palpable. Some of the guests began to cry as we sang holiday songs and discussed the story of Passover.

After the second cup of wine, I stepped outside to get more matzah for the Seder. As I opened the door, I saw a small group of people giving me a very long look. I looked back at them and during that moment it clicked. Speaking to them, they told me that they were Israelis. Not having a Seder, the four of them decided to head to a nearby restaurant and drink four cups of (non-kosher) wine to ‘honor Passover.’ They were completely taken aback that here in Siem Reap there was a Seder they could join. We invited them in as we began a stirring round of the song, Had Gadya. What a celebration!