Finchley family opens door to stranger at Pesach – thanks to Twitter

Finchley family opens door to stranger at Pesach – thanks to Twitter

An appeal for families to invite a stranger to their Seder this year received interest from families in London, Manchester and Brighton

Yael Simon, left, and Annelise Bianchini, right
Yael Simon, left, and Annelise Bianchini, right

A Charedi family in Finchley was among the UK homes to open their door to a stranger this Pesach following a social media appeal.

Business development entrepreneur Yael Simon, 50, hosted Annelise Bianchini, an actor originally from the US, for a Seder last week.

The two did not know each other when Bianchini walked through the door to share a Seder with Simon’s family  – but she was immediately greeted with a hug.

“She moved in from America and did not know anyone,” Simon told Jewish News.

“She showed up. Luckily, for me my mother was here from Chicago. When [Bianchini] walked in the door, she gave her a big American hug. Right away she felt at home.”

She added: “The Seder went on until 3am. There was singing, laughing. She loved it and had a great time.”

Bianchini, 31, from California, said: “I didn’t want to be alone and not celebrate it, so I reached out. 

“This was my most religious Seder. I don’t think I managed to do a Seder last year. The year before I was able to do some kind of Seder.

“It was incredible. When I came in, her mother answered and she gave me this big hug. I just chatted to them a long time. The dinner was really fun.”

She added: “I didn’t feel like an outsider at all. I don’t speak Hebrew. I don’t read Hebrew but I love the sound of it.

“They read in Hebrew and I read in English. I asked questions about why we were doing certain things and I learned a lot.”

The two were introduced after James Masters, a UK-based freelance journalist, posted an appeal on Twitter for host families and anyone on their own looking for a Seder.

The appeal, retweeted dozens of times, received interest from families across in London, Manchester and Brighton and beyond with hosts in New York, Milan and Israel.

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