To commemorate my three months in France, I'm going to try to blog every day from now on, even if it's something little. Today's blog: Passover!
So I ended up having to go to the service and seder at the temple by myself, because my friend couldn't make it, and I definitely was not looking forward to going but I went anyway. It ended up not being so bad. LUCKILY this girl asked me where I was from and then took me to sit with some other other young people, or else I would have been alone all night.
I expected things to be super strict and formal because the men and women are separated in this temple, but things were surprisingly light-hearted. While the men were downstairs actually standing and sitting when they were supposed to, and reading from their prayer books, the women were just upstairs playing with the babies and gossiping, without even trying to keep their voices down while the service was going on in the same room. Also, a lot of noise was made by the fact that every single kid under the age of seven was literally running from the men's section all the way upstairs to the women's section, climbing over the benches, and running down again, all the while shrieking in French and being dressed impossibly cute in stripes or polka dots. One of the girls that I was sitting with pointed out the men downstairs were singing in Portugese.
Normally I don't appreciate having to be separated from the guys in any situation, but I decided that being forced to sit upstairs has its advantages: i.e. you get almost a bird's eye view of every single young man in the room. Definitely plan on going back soon because of this.
Not everyone stayed for the dinner after the service (unfortunately for me, because I was making a mental map of every guy that I planned on meeting), but there were still more than a hundred people for dinner, mostly older people. However, one of the girls I met definitely took care of me and let me sit with her and introduced me to a few people, which was really nice of her because I had no idea what was going on.
The Seder was entirely in Hebrew, but it still seemed really lighthearted, because the Rabbi was really young and was often speaking in French and people were laughing a lot. However, with ONE HUNDRED people in the room, things were going reeeeally slowly. I wasn't hungry, because I had eaten half a baguette beforehand just in case, but I was tired and kind of uncomfortable because Hebrew and French seem to be the TWO languages in my life that I don't understand precisely in situations were I should be able to. It was about 10:30 PM, we had finished half of the Hagaddah, and they were only just serving Matzah Ball Soup. I asked my new friend what time she thought it would over, and she told me probably in an hour and a hlf or two hours. I decided that I had experienced a nice amount of French Jewish culture, and I had already made some new friends, so I ate my soup and said my goodbyes and left. This was approximately around 11PM. I left the synagogue (which meant that I was locked out). But when I tried to leave the yard, it turned out that I was also locked in.. I tried every exit, but no luck, and oviously all of the doors back inside were definitely locked.
It was really dark out, and starting to rain and it was really windy, and even though I didn't want to be inside, I definitely didn't want to stand outside in the rain for the next two hours until everyone else left. I could see through a window in one of the temple doors that were were some kids playing about 40 feet away, so I knocked really loudly until one of them heard me, took pity on me and got the keys to let me out.
So it was definitely a worthwhile adventure.