We emailed all the roving rabbis after the first days of Passover, asking them to share some moments of inspiration from the field. Here is a sampling of their responses from around the world.

Yehuda Blasenstien describes an impromptu bar mitzvah outside a gas station in Carlsbad, California:

“A few days before Passover, we filled up on gas and went inside to buy a drink. A young couple with a baby were buying a lottery ticket and having a small argument about it because the husband wasn’t interested in the purchase. The cashier got involved, telling him that if he would improve his attitude that might increase his chances of winning. Not wanting to miss out on the action, I added my two cents, that perhaps with happiness he can change his fate. When they turned around, I couldn’t resist asking them if they were Jewish. They responded that they were, and in fact they had debated whether they should wish us Chag Sameach. Wow, Divine Providence at work! They gladly accepted the handmade shmurah matzah we offered. When we asked the husband if he would like to put on tefillin, he said that he would, adding that it would be his first time; he had celebrated his bar mitzvah and read from the Torah, but had never actually put on tefillin. At this point, we moved the party outside, and helped our new friend do the mitzvah and say the accompanying prayers with much celebration.”

Also in the Golden State, Mendy Kotlarsky was assisting the Chabad rabbi to San Francisco, Rabbi Gedalya Potash, with his matzah deliveries before Passover. One recipient was not like the others…

“After we handed him the matzah, a middle aged gentleman told us that when he was in his late teens, Communism fell in his native Russia, and his family immigrated to the United States at their first opportunity, initially settling in Cleveland, Ohio. There, they were befriended by a Chabad Rebbetzin, who took care of their spiritual and physical needs, and also urged him to have a brit milah. His mother would not hear of it, but after a couple of years, she warmed to the idea, and he joined the covenant of Israel. We then chatted about Jewish life in San Francisco, when suddenly his face lit up. ‘I remember the Rebbetzin’s name, it was Rebbetzin Kazen. I owe so much to her. Have you ever met her?’ He nearly fell off his chair when I responded that I knew her very well, she is my great-grandmother!”

On the subject of our lineage, Aharon Carlebach also reconnected with his past while stationed in Hannover, Germany:

“It was a privilege to be sent to Hannover this Passover. How inspiring to witness the dedicated work of the Chabad shluchim, Rabbi Binyamin and Mrs. Shternie Wolf and their children. On a personal note, my grandfather, Rabbi Efraim Carlebach, is from Germany, and his family lived there for many generations, where they were well known for being rabbis and philanthropists. My grandfather actually grew up in Lubeck, a town only two hours away from Hannover! His grandfather, Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, served as chief rabbi there, and during the intermediate days of Passover, I was able to visit the synagogue where he served his community—one of the only synagogues in Germany that is still intact from before the war. I was able to visit the grave of my great-great-grandfather. We also went to Bergen-Belsen, which is only about an hour away from Hannover. It was a very reflective time, faced with so much history, juxtaposed with the present: we had led a beautiful youth Seder for 30 teens. For many of them, it was their first time at a Jewish event, but they had so much excitement and enthusiasm for learning about their heritage. Am Yisrael Chai! The Jewish nation endures!

Levi Deren, who led a Seder for the Jewish community of Shepetovka, Ukraine, expressed a similar sentiment:

“Before the Holocaust, Shepetovka was a thriving Jewish community with thousands of Jews. Now, only 120 Jews live here, and there isn’t much in the way of Jewish life. A full fifty percent of the Jewish population attended our Seder, a mixture of the elderly, middle-aged, and families with children. It was a beautiful evening, and to be honest, we were in awe of these Jewish souls. Their rapt attention when we shared some Chassidic stories, their keen interest in every step of the Seder, their pride when the children stood on the chairs to recite the four questions was visceral and so real, all without the benefit of a Jewish upbringing or education. When it was time to open the door for Elijah, we explained that it was an opportune time to ask for whatever they may need. One by one, they covered their eyes and beseeched G‑d, the minutes ticking by, completely immersed in silent, collective prayer.”