By: Jen Kouba

My very first Passover Seder was at Mishkan. I remember that I was feeling really, really tired and overwhelmed that day when I arrived. At the time, I was balancing a hefty workload for a project I was managing in addition to my full time job. As I walked into the space, the energy was palpable and that immediately helped re-energize me for the evening.

At one point during the Seder, we were going around the table reading different discussion questions. I pulled a little slip of paper and somehow I picked the heavy duty question of “How did I get here?” That was indeed an excellent question. Besides being my first Passover Seder ever, I was raised Catholic. I had been slowly becoming more involved at Mishkan since I attending my first Shabbat in August 2015. When I reflected on the question, I remember appreciating how easy and welcoming Mishkan makes all its gatherings for newcomers to the faith like myself.

That night, I felt like part of the community. I remember thinking, “I’m very comfortable here.” I also remember the immense amount of gratitude I felt for the opportunity to be around the table.

After the Seder, I attended Easter dinner at my parent’s house. I offered to do the HaMotzi, the Hebrew blessing over the bread, and shared that I was officially converting to Judaism. It was a really big moment! The Passover Seder was truly a defining moment for me – I realized how connected I felt to not only Mishkan, but my new chosen faith.