A Lonely Seder That Changed My Life Forever

Jordan David Soffer

I know this is long, but hopefully it is worth it. This is the story of my loneliest seder and how it changed my life forever.
—–
We were somewhere between Mauritius and South Africa, likely hugging Madagascar’s coastline. Half of the journey had already passed, but half was yet unrealized. Mexico, Hawaii and South East Asia quickly became distant memories. Africa, South America and a return home were around the corner.

It was my junior year of college and I was on Semester at Sea. 4 of the greatest months of my life, spent circumnavigating the globe with some of the greatest and most interesting people I had ever met. The stories from that semester are endless; the memories are overwhelming; the friendships are lifelong.

But, throughout the trip there was one lingering fear: Passover. I could make accommodations for shabbos. I could keep kosher by living on peanut butter and jelly (hardly an accommodation; closer to a dream!). But Pesach was a different animal.

We were at sea for the first two days of yuntiv, and then in South Africa for the remainder. Before we left I made sure the ship had wine and matza, I packed my own haggada, and I made arraignments with the Chabad in Cape Town for the remaining days.

Seder? I’d figure it out. And it was amazing. 300 people, predominantly not Jewish, showed up. The 4 or 5 Jewishly involved students led it together, under the guidance of Mike, our awe-inspiring Lutheran chaplain/ professor of the year at Virginia Tech. The experience was wild and incredible. We sang a few songs, and heard a few stories. The chef brought out freshly baked rolls, breaded chicken, and a nice holiday ham (ok, I’ll be honest, I have no clue what food was actually served, but it was very trief).

300 people, and I felt completely alone.

After it ended, I returned to my 150 sq foot room, and sat in my twin bed with a bottle of grape juice, a piece of romaine lettuce, and 3 matzas. I read through the hagada quickly, to myself. I drank the wine and ate the matza, and went to bed, hungry and lonely.

The next morning I woke up and went to a small private deck that I frequented to daven. I wrapped myself in my tallis, looked out at the ocean, and for the first time in the entire trip felt sea sick. Here I was, completely lost in the middle of the Mozambique Channel. I missed my family and my home. I missed my seder. I missed my traditions. I missed my faith. For the first time, I just wanted to go home.

Perhaps it was at that very moment that religiousness became my own, and not just a habit from my childhood. Perhaps it was then that I realized how much I needed my people. Perhaps it was this experience that made me dedicate my life to helping others realize how fulfilling religion can be.

Recently, rabbis and community leaders have been posting about accommodations to avoid a lonely seder. And, to be 100% clear, if the loneliness will cause you or someone you know any semblance of risk you have an obligation to take advantage of these accommodations. But, if you don’t, and if a lonely seder seems more disappointing than tragic, I implore you: take advantage instead of this one lonely seder. It can change your life forever.

42 Replies to “A Lonely Seder That Changed My Life Forever”

  1. Your article gave me a lot of inspiration, I hope you can explain your point of view in more detail, because I have some doubts, thank you.

  2. Your article gave me a lot of inspiration, I hope you can explain your point of view in more detail, because I have some doubts, thank you.

  3. Your article gave me a lot of inspiration, I hope you can explain your point of view in more detail, because I have some doubts, thank you.

  4. Apoiar ferramentas de apostas e estar equipado com uma plataforma diversificada de transações financeiras, a 20Bet oferece suporte tangível aos jogadores. Este é um lugar onde eles podem apostar com dinheiro real, respaldados por concorrentes de diversas disciplinas esportivas. 20bet

  5. Your literary tapestry is woven with threads of brilliance, each sentence a shimmering strand contributing to the overall masterpiece. The fluidity of your expression, coupled with the depth of your insights, creates a reading experience that is akin to savoring a fine wine or appreciating a timeless work of art.

  6. You’re a highly talented blogger, and this is incredibly interesting. I’ve subscribed to your feed and am eager to read more of your amazing posts. I’ve also shared your website on my social media accounts!

  7. helloI really like your writing so a lot share we keep up a correspondence extra approximately your post on AOL I need an expert in this house to unravel my problem May be that is you Taking a look ahead to see you

  8. I loved as much as you will receive carried out right here The sketch is attractive your authored material stylish nonetheless you command get got an impatience over that you wish be delivering the following unwell unquestionably come more formerly again since exactly the same nearly a lot often inside case you shield this hike

  9. Szpiegowskie telefonu – Ukryta aplikacja śledząca, która rejestruje lokalizację, SMS-y, dźwięk rozmów, WhatsApp, Facebook, zdjęcie, kamerę, aktywność w Internecie. Najlepsze do kontroli rodzicielskiej i monitorowania pracowników. Szpiegowskie Telefonu za Darmo – Oprogramowanie Monitorujące Online.

  10. helloI like your writing very so much proportion we keep up a correspondence extra approximately your post on AOL I need an expert in this space to unravel my problem May be that is you Taking a look forward to see you

  11. Thank you I have just been searching for information approximately this topic for a while and yours is the best I have found out so far However what in regards to the bottom line Are you certain concerning the supply

  12. Najlepsza aplikacja do kontroli rodzicielskiej, aby chronić swoje dzieci – potajemnie tajny monitor GPS, SMS-y, połączenia, WhatsApp, Facebook, lokalizacja. Możesz zdalnie monitorować aktywność telefonu komórkowego po pobraniu i zainstalowaniu apk na telefonie docelowym.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *