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Ma Nishtana

Everyone has an "Only in Israel" story!

Here's Rena's story:


Passover last year was definitely an experience. I was meant to fly back to the States to see my family, but I ended up getting stuck, as the rest of the world did! I ended up doing Passover in my shared apartment with friends in Jerusalem.


A folded cloth with a metal cup full of red wine, a stack of square matazas, two eggs, lettuce leaves, and a metal plate with charoset.
Passover Seder items

I was pretty bummed about not being with family. Tensions were high around the whole world and Israel was in full lockdown. We couldn’t walk more than a few hundred feet from our apartment without being stopped, unless it was to the food store or pharmacy! It was a pretty crazy time.


I was especially nervous about seder night. For me, the Passover Seder is one of the most special times of the year. It is a time to be with family, to feel the togetherness of redemption. And last year, I couldn’t imagine how it was going to be! There was no family, no friends, no togetherness, that is, until I heard of Israel’s plan to change that.


It was decided, by someone somewhere in the country, to go outside during seder night at a certain hour, and sing the “Ma Nishtana” with the rest of the neighborhood, together! The “Ma Nishtana” is a classic and well known, it consists of four questions sung by the youngest child at the table. That night, at my small seder of three people, we went to our window at 8PM, and sang in unison with the people of my street.

I discovered after the holiday that Israelis all over the country sang with me at 8PM. Israel never ceases to amaze me. Even in lockdown, with a global pandemic raging the world, and tensions high, Israel managed to make me feel at home.