How does one find matzo in west Texas? The answer is, you don’t. While preparing to make 64 pieces of homemade matzo for our Passover Seder, the doorbell rang, and a small miracle arrived: five pounds of matzo that we had overnighted in a fit of desperation, not even sure it would arrive on time. We used this matzo as the staple of our homemade Passover Seder meal, along with noodle kugel, matzo ball soup, potato latkas, roasted vegetables, charosset, and a matzo dessert with chocolate and toffee. For a group of four 20-year olds who had never led our own Seder or cooked for so many people (21), you can imagine the kitchen was a bit chaotic. But at the end of the day, the food was cooked, and it was delicious.
While the cooking was an experience in it of itself, that’s not what made this Seder so special. We sat alongside an Evangelical pastor and his family, the Moyas, our hosts for the last 10 days, and shared our culture with them, similarly to how they’ve been sharing their culture with us. It was a wonderful evening, that included a dramatic retelling of the Passover story, four cups of sparkling grape juice, and an intense hunt for the highly-coveted Afikoman. The meal was followed by a blend of Jewish and Mexican celebratory dancing. Arm in arm, we danced the Hora together followed by a traditional Mexican line dance, popular at weddings. This unique Seder left us with our stomachs and our hearts full. It also left a lasting impression on Pastor Hugo, who incorporated not only our Passover story skit, but also connected elements from our Seder into his Palm Sunday service the next day. While this Seder was both untraditional and unexpected, it was a great time we will always remember.