Standard intern’s story of spending Passover in London with strangers goes viral

Standard intern’s story of spending Passover in London with strangers goes viral

Samantha Gross
Samantha Gross

It’s a Standard intern tale for the history books.

Okay, Samantha Gross is not an intern at the Jewish Standard, but rather at our trans-Atlantic namesake, the London Evening Standard.

Sadly, Gross — who comes from Schererville, Indiana, and is a Boston University student studying abroad — was in London and had nowhere to go for Passover this year.

It was her first Passover away from home or school, and as she wrote in the Evening Standard last week, her only plans included steering “clear of bread” and moping about it.

She was used to not having many Jews in her vicinity, writing that the only Jews she knew from her hometown were her family members, and that her sister was once asked if she was “Hanukah-ian.”

But on Monday, she found a tweet from CNN reporter James Masters.

“Tonight is #Passover so if you’re in London and you’ve got nowhere to go for Seder, get in touch. Nobody should be alone tonight,” he wrote.

Samantha’s Passover got much better — and more emotional — from there.

She messaged Masters, explaining that she did not have a seder to attend, and he offered to pick her up in North London. They drove to Masters’ parents’ house, where she felt “immediately welcomed.”

She described the seder that followed as teary but “silly.”

She explained that things got more emotional during the meal when she began thinking of her grandparents, who loved the holiday. Three of them died in the last few years.

Of course, Gross and Masters also talked journalism and politics and sang traditional Passover songs — albeit in different accents.

Eventually, as she recounted on Twitter, she meditated on the important themes of the Passover story.

“While we were singing Hebrew words engrained in both my brain and theirs, I couldn’t stop thinking of how little an ocean really means,” she wrote.

“I also thought about how little geography means between us (blessed Jews, freed from suffering) and others (those still suffering daily).”

Gross’ story became a Twitter “moment” on Tuesday, meaning that it was included in the site’s curated list of notable and engaging stories from the day.

She wrote that she broke down in tears again when Masters’ wife, Hannah, texted her after midnight to check that she got home safely.

“James gave me a warm meal and company with whom to eat, but also so much more,” she wrote. “He restored my faith that no matter where you are in the world, even thousands of miles away from home, you can always find a friend.”

JTA Wire Service

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