Despite the political turbulence and travel warnings issued by the Foreign Ministry before Passover, about 1,500 Israelis celebrated the Seder in Katmandu, Nepal.
Many of the Israelis chose to participate in the Chabad sponsored Seder held in the Chabad house and considered the largest Seder in the world.
Chabad House hosts young Israelis (Photo: AFP)
Twenty years ago, the Israeli embassy in Katmandu started the tradition of holding a Seder for Israeli travelers and seven years ago members of Chabad took over the task. Israeli Ambassador in Katmandu Dan Stav noted that "when Israeli tourists travel in North America, Europe, or Latin America they always find a Jewish community, but Nepal doesn't have one."
22 years-old Or Alon who is traveling in Nepal said: "Ask people in Israel about Nepal and they will tell you here is the largest Seder in the world. It's a once in a life time experience. Once I started my trip I knew I would be here to celebrate the Seder."
According to Alon most of the travelers are young backpackers who recently completed their IDF service.
Before Passover, the Ministry of Foreign Affaires issued a travel warning advising Israelis to postpone Nepal trips until the political situation is clear. The advisory also recommended that Israelis avoid demonstrations, gatherings.
Meanwhile, Passover was celebrated in other Jewish communities in the world, including small and very remote ones. Sara Aimes, who lives in Shanghai, celebrated the Seder with Jewish tourists who arrived from Russia. Sara's family, who is considered to be the last Jewish family in Shanghai, escaped Russia during the Nazi occupation along with 20,000 Jews who immigrated to China. The vast majority of Jews left China when the State of Israel was established or a year later after the rise of the communist party in China.
Jerry, Sara's son did not attend the Seder. "My son is completely Chinese" said Sara, who speaks Chinese and Hebrew and used to live in Israel. "I get the dishware and all the food, including the matzo from overseas".