Despite being over 2,000 miles from my house, my Passover experience made me feel at home.
“Thirty minutes! Ready…. Set…. Go!”
And that was how my 2018 Seder began.
Why was this Seder different from all of my other Seders? Well, my family wasn’t there, I was not seated in my usual spot at our grand dining room table and there was a disturbing absence of post-dinner flourless chocolate cake. Despite this blow, my Seder was actually fun. Usually, the main enjoyment comes from the “we can finally eat” moment or seeing that relative have a little too much Manischevitz. However, this Seder was truly unlike anything I had experienced—I had flown across the country to visit my best friend, Alana, and attended a Seder with Alana and her older sister, Emma, at Boston University.
As I walk into Boston University’s Hillel on the first night of Passover, I realize that I am decidedly underdressed. Turns out it’s not the best idea to wear a jean jacket to a Seder, even one for college kids. The Hillel offered three Seders: a traditional and longer one, an LGBTQ+ Seder and a shorter more modern Seder. My two friends and I opted for the short, but sweet, 30-minute-jam-packed-no-time-for-the-Dayenu-chorus Seder. In true Jewish style, we figured the sooner we could eat, the better.
I believe, that despite the religious and spiritual part of a Seder, people come for the people.
I’m not going to lie, I was a little surprised by how many students showed up to a Seder on Friday night. Even more surprising? There were many people who weren’t even Jewish. So why had over 50 people come to BU’s Hillel to hear about how our ancestors didn’t use Google Maps and instead opted for the 40-year scenic route? Because of community, love and tradition. I believe, that despite the religious and spiritual part of a Seder, people come for the people. Don’t get me wrong, I am religious. However, I believe that if non-Jews are going to sit through a Seder there must be a strong bond between all of us. In that room, we were all connected, not through our religion or the story of our ancestors, but by our appreciation for each other, even if we were strangers.
Who knew that my Seder would teach me some important lessons—not necessarily about Judaism, but about life. First, be open: be open to everyone from all faiths and all levels of clothing elegance (or lack thereof), and invite them to your Seder along with Elijah. Second, try: try a thirty minute Seder with people you have never met before. Who knows? Maybe you’ll meet a nice Jewish boy (or girl). Third, go with the flow: while Moses opted to force the flow to go with him, I opted to go along with the vibe of the Hillel. I chose the Seder that called to me, and it worked out perfectly.
In the end, eating Matzo Ball Soup and laughing with my new friends, made this year’s Seder one for the books. No, not the Torah, just my journal.
Amalia Munn is a junior at Palos Verdes Peninsula High School in Rolling Hills Estates, Calif. She is also a member of the Fresh Ink for Teens’ Editorial Board. nike