Our first Passover in Moscow was in 1990. We were a group of Israeli believers who came to celebrate Passover with the young adults in the Jewish community. Barry and I (Batya) were with our baby Ariel at the time.
On the evening of Passover, the excitement reached its peak. This was the first time that the Jewish community of Moscow had received permission from the communist government to celebrate in a public gathering. We did not know how many local Jewish people from Moscow would attend the Passover Seder.
We arrived at a place that looked like a makeshift synagogue in a small room that could accommodate an estimated maximum of 60 people. There were long benches and rickety tables covered with a plastic table cloth. The area outside was derelict and deserted.
The place was packed with over 100 people. We joyously handed out packs of chocolate and dates among them so everyone could have some.
When the time for the meal came after the second cup, we were waiting and hoping the meal would be served. We waited and waited—but no meal was coming.
Passover with no proper meal to complete the Passover celebration. Our hearts went out to these people. We were disappointed and could not believe that all those who participated are going to leave the Passover the same way they came to the event—hungry.
All of us felt overjoyed. Emotionally it was a significant experience, to be in a historical event but physically, a tremendous pang of hunger, without the food that is customary during the Passover meal. Thinking back, I was glad we had handed out the chocolate and dates and told myself it was a pity we didn’t bring more to share with these people. After all, it was their only food during this Passover Eve.
This experience in Russia stayed strong in my memory, understanding and experiencing that many are lacking what we take for granted.
Vision for Israel is determined to help as many people as possible to have a real meal on their table. No one who celebrates the Passover should ever have to leave the table with hunger pains as those people felt that Passover Seder in Russia.
Blessing to all of you, our dear friends, and Happy Passover!
Barry & Batya