This student’s story of spending Passover in London with strangers went viral

Gabe Friedman

Samantha Gross (Facebook)

(JTA) — It’s a Passover tale that sounds too good to be true.

Samantha Gross, a Boston University student studying abroad and interning for the London Evening Standard, had nowhere to go for Passover in London this year.

It was the Schererville, Indiana, native’s first Passover away from home or school, and as she wrote in the Evening Standard on Wednesday, 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, Gross found a tweet from CNN reporter James Masters.

Gross’ 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.”

Gross 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 — three of whom she had lost in recent years — who loved the holiday.

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.

Gross’ story became a Twitter “moment” on Tuesday, meaning 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. 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,” Gross wrote.

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