I Just Went to Passover Seder in Oxford and This Is What Happened
The local chabad was the only place having a community seder, so we decided to show up, not knowing what we were getting ourselves into.
- •We arrived at an apartment in downtown Oxford and are buzzed-in immediately.The apartment, we find out quickly, has been converted into an Orthodox synagogue and we just roll with it.
- •One of the two rabbis greets us.We are the youngest people there by at least 25 years at this point. One of the two rabbis tells us that he will be "guest lecturing" at the mid-point of the seder. Only at Oxford.
- •We stand around awkwardly, waiting for more people to arrive, trying to help hand out kippahs.You know when you don't have your phone on you and everyone else does? That's what it felt like.
- •Ten minutes before the seder starts, more people arrive.Everyone from a "severely epileptic" born-again Christian to a guy who graduated from Yale and decided to get another bachelor's degree at Oxford to "figure things out," introduces themselves to us.
- •We congregate with the Yale kid and a few other "young people."As we are told to sit down at one of the four long tables, we choose the far end of a table facing in the opposite direction. Turns out it was the table for the two rabbis and their Orthodox relatives, but they insist we join them anyways.
- •We have no idea what's going on.The Passover seder was unlike anything I had ever experienced in years past. Since it was technically a "community seder," they made it one-degree less Orthodox. But, I come from a synagogue where the rabbi is gay and drives a Nissan Z if you get the picture.
- •It lasted four hours.Honestly, I was amazed by the children who were able to sit patiently during the entire seder. Those kids deserve some extra chocolate covered matzah.
- •And it was awesome.One of the rabbis even complained that he didn't like the font in the Hagedaah and insisted on getting another one. (They got him one). But, hey, it's Oxford and I knew my parents would be proud.
- •What remained in case you've made it this far.