One enchanted Seder evening . . .
Talk about your Greater Seder. The 2012 edition of Tampa’s Greater Seder, a kitschy, musical comedy take on Passover held April 7 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, was not a Greater Seder, but the Greatest Seder – at least in the view of a starry-eyed couple, Elvina Bergmann of St. Pete Beach and Lee Kallett of Tampa.
The couple stole the show during the 17th annual Greater Seder when one of the show’s actors, playing the role of lounge entertainer, wandered into the crowd to chat with the audience.
That’s when Kallett took the mike, declared his love for Bergmann, pulled out a ring and popped the question.
A stunned, but delighted Bergmann cried buckets of happy tears as she answered in the affirmative, delighting the cheering crowd.
“Now, that was a tough act to follow. How do you follow that?” asked Rande Friedman, producer of the intentionally un-Seder event that draws adults who might not otherwise celebrate Passover by adding music and comedy to the traditional dinner. Somehow this year, his cast of Kosher Ham players found a way to follow the proposal and put on a great “Saturday Night Live” style show.
The magical moment for Bergmann and Kallett began a year earlier, at the 2011 edition of the Greater Seder, when both showed up for a pre-event singles mingle. Bergmann only attended as a favor to her friend Nancy Wall, owner of Tampa Bay Matchmakers, who was putting it on.
“I had no desire or aspirations,” Bergmann said. In fact, she had been visiting her mom in a local hospital and didn’t even bother changing clothes.
For his part, Kallet said, “I was going to the Seder either way. So I get there a little early and see who else shows up. I was not actively on the prowl, but did not want to miss an opportunity. I did not have high expectations, though.”
Both Bergmann and Kallett were previously married and had been divorced for about six years. Bergmann said Kallet was talking to another woman when she arrived, but within about 10 minutes he started a conversation with her and from that moment on, they have been inseparable.
Both of them described how once they began talking, they were in their own world, chatted ceaselessly through the Seder and ignored others at their table. It was not until the wait staff was stacking chairs and cleaning up that they realized they were the last ones to leave.
One of the couples at their table for the 2011 Greater Seder was back at their table this year. After the proposal, they told Bergmann and Kallett that as they were driving to this year’s event, they wondered whether “that couple” would be there, and still be together.
Bergmann and Kallett were happy to see them, so they could apologize for not being sociable with them in 2011. Apology accepted.
One of the things Bergmann told Kallett early on in their romance was that she would have to know someone for all the seasons before she would be ready to commit to a lasting relationship.
So a year later, Kallett took the mike, reminded her they had been through those four seasons, and proposed.
No date has been set for the wedding, but they say they will get married soon.