Although Passover fell outside universities’ class schedules this year, campus-based Chabad-Lubavitch centers throughout the United Kingdom still had overflowing tables for the traditional Seders, with approximately 800 British Jews and Jewish visitors attending communal gatherings from Edinburgh to Leeds.

In Cambridge, where Rabbi Reuven and Rochel Leigh hosted some 70 guests, a plethora of nationalities participated in the Seder.

“We had a very international crowd, so we sang mah nishtana in eight different languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, German, Spanish, Greek, Korean and Russian,” said Reuven Leigh, co-director of Chabad at Cambridge University.

Large crowds descended on festive meals in London, where international students had their pick of community Seders. Chabad of Bloomsbury had more than 140 people on the first night of Passover, while Chabad of South Kensington hosted 90 people at Boston University’s satellite campus in the British capital.

“My family live in Australia, and going home wasn’t really an option this year,” said visiting student Emanuel Zelniker, who participated in the Bloomsbury meal and service. “I really enjoyed the Seder and was happy to have somewhere to go to celebrate the holiday with other students.”

Following its dramatic expansion last year - made possible by a sizable donation from philanthropist David Slager - to include Jewish student centers in Bristol, Edinburgh, Nottingham, South Kensington and South London, Chabad on Campus UK was able to serve more students at more locations this Passover. In the days leading up to the holiday, Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries distributed hundreds of pounds of matzah to students, faculty, tourists and residents.

The statistics from Europe dovetailed with Passover-related efforts across the globe, said Rabbi Yossy Gordon, executive vice president of the New York-based Chabad on Campus International Foundation.

“Around the world, campus-based Chabad Houses saw the largest-ever number of students attending Passover Seders,” said Gordon. “In the United States, tens of thousands of students were able to join one another and celebrate the holiday of freedom.”

Rabbi Eli Brackman, chairman of Chabad on Campus UK and director of the Oxford University Chabad Society, ran a Seder for more than 140 students, academics and members of the local Jewish community.

“Oxford’s Chabad is an amazing enterprise,” said Seder attendee Guy Noa. The wealth of programs “allows us to enjoy some Jewish atmosphere.”

On the South Coast, more than 50 people attended the Passover Seder at the Chabad House at Brighton and Sussex University, directed by Rabbi Zalman and Shterna Lewis.

In Scotland, meanwhile, Chabad of Edinburgh catered kosher-for-Passover meals for some 70 people. The two nights of communal Seders were believed to be the city’s first-such Passover gatherings in recent memory.

The meals “attracted British students, as well as American exchange students, local community members, tourists and Israeli backpackers,” reported Rabbi Pinchus Weinman, director of the Edinburgh Jewish Student Centre, who moved to the city just last year.

At the University of Bristol, one attendee of a Seder hosted by the local Chabad center said “it was inspiring to see such an eclectic crowd of Jews from very different backgrounds gathered to celebrate and relive the Passover experience together.”