Russian Jews, no matter where they live, they have a unique understanding of yetzias mitzrayim - the Exodus from Egypt.

We spent our Passover in West Hartford, CT, under the auspices of Rabbi Joseph Gopin. Our primary rolewas to make a Seder for the Russian Jews of the city.

As Passover began, the tables quickly filled. By 7:30 we were happily hosting 65 guests.

We read the Haggadah together in Russian and Hebrew, taking turns to lead the reading, and stopping to discuss various passages. It was profound how innately they all understood the story. One by one they all spoke of their own personal experiences fighting to live as Jews in the former Soviet Union.

“How lucky we are,” one of them said, “that we can be in a country where we can freely live as proud Jews!”

They thanked us before we left, but in truth, we were the ones who needed to thank them. It’s not every day, after all, that you spend time with people who confronted Pharaoh.