Thinking about the festive Passover meal has the MJL staff in an introspective mood. (Cue the Loretta Lynn soundtrack, and the black-and-white slide reel.) Senior editor Shoshanna Lockshin had some seder memories of her own. She’s not eligible to win, of course. But we wanted to share them with you anyway:
Kishinev is famous for its 1903 pogrom. Moldova is famous for being the poorest country in Europe. Passover in Kishinev, Moldova turned out to be mighty depressing.
At 2:00 A.M., after attempting to lead a seder in a language we didn’t speak, for people who didn’t seem to care what we had to say, my friend and I made our own “real” seder. We sat on the floor of our hotel room, read our haggadot, and ate pickles from a can. They were our karpas, our maror, and our main course.
On the second night, we were joined by a young man from our delegation. He had never been to a “traditional” seder, and was curious what we would do. We put on a good show–singing our familiar Passover songs, sharing words of Torah, and crying about being so far from home. No need for salt water to represent the Israelites’ tears!
After a few years of unanswered phone calls and emails, that young man and I now sit together at seder again. This year, we’ll be joined by our two sets of parents and our baby daughter. We may not have known it, but sparks were flying in that dark, pickle-smelling room in Kishinev’s Hotel Dacia.
What’s your best seder ever? Check out our contest entry page, and let us know.
Pronounced: SAY-der, Origin: Hebrew, literally “order”; usually used to describe the ceremonial meal and telling of the Passover story on the first two nights of Passover. (In Israel, Jews have a seder only on the first night of Passover.)