Thank you so much for connecting me with Rabbi Avremi. Everywhere I travel I attempt to find the Jewish community but this has been the most successful experience so far. I was worried I would have to have my own makeshift Seder in my dorm.
It felt amazing to be able to be apart of this community, everyone is so welcoming and accepting of different backgrounds and cultures.
The first night was quite interesting. It was much larger and chaotic since it was at a hotel rather than the Chabad house. I believe there were over 240 people! Much more than there ever had been according to the Rabbi, and definitely more than I would have ever expected. I had no idea how many Jewish people there would be in such a specific part of the world. I was able to meet many expats working and living in Saigon, that I am now connected with and am planning on seeing again before I leave. I only wish I was able to meet them sooner!
Although the first night was incredibly eye opening, fun and interesting, I really appreciated the second night. The Chabad house was, once again, so welcoming. It didn't quite feel like I was in Vietnam anymore. The strange, but not so strange, part about the night was how familiar it felt. Although the food was a bit different, and I didn't know all the prayers it still felt comfortable and normal. It gave me a bit of home that I was missing. We went around the room, each person reading a passage in the language they knew and it was incredible. Hebrew, French, English, etc. but we were all feeling and reading the same thing. I loved it!
I was able to sit near a few Israeli girls who had come here to teach a few months ago, I exchanged information with one of them and I plan to go see her (hopefully) in Israel once I graduate!
All in all this was a fantastic experience. I am so grateful to have been able to share this holiday with all those I have met. I plan to hopefully fit in a shabbat dinner at the Chabad house before I leave!
Being in Vietnam has not been easy for me, knowing that this community exists gives me some peace of mind and allows me to have a comfort.