Students still celebrate Passover, even at college

Stephanie Mathias

Members of Hillel “mourn” holiday

Passover is a holiday largely based around family, so celebrating can be difficult for students living on campus.

“The big thing is students now have a place to celebrate in a home-like atmosphere,” assistant director of Hillel Michael Levinstein said.

Members of Hillel went to CiCi’s Pizza Tuesday night to celebrate, or rather, mourn, Passover starting Wednesday night at sunset.

The mourning is a result of Passover’s dietary restrictions.

During Passover, Jews cannot eat chametz. Chametz refers to foods which include wheat, rye, barley, oats and spelt. Instead, they eat matzah bread, which is quickly cooked, unleavened bread made of water.

This tradition comes from the time Jews fled Egypt and did not have enough time to let the bread rise. Traditional Jews also avoid rice, corn, peanuts and legumes as if they were chametz.

“It’s hard to observe Passover on campus,” said Eric Braun, senior computer information systems major. “Since Hillel has moved to campus it will be a lot easier this year.”

Braun said he has always observed Passover strictly, even while on campus the last three years.

Hillel will have Seder dinner at 7 p.m. tonight. There they will tell the story of Passover. Seder is the main ritual of Passover, and it follows the rules laid out in the Haggadah.

“I have been celebrating Passover as long as I can remember,” said Taylor Collins, freshman electronic media production major. “I’ll be mostly celebrating by myself and at home.”

Collins also said people from home sent him snacks to help him through Passover on campus.

“The best part of Passover is the Seder dinner,” said Becky Meiser, engagement associate for Hillel.

Hillel is also selling kosher meals for Passover.

“We tend to think with our stomachs,” Levinstein said. “So students will ultimately benefit from our new kitchen.”

Passover celebrates how God saved the Jews, led by Moses, from slavery in Egypt. Last night at sundown, in line with Passover tradition, Jewish families retold the story of the escape from Egypt, and focused on the messages of hope, redemption and faith.

Hillel is having a chocolate Seder Tuesday, April 14, at the Stopher-Johnson Hall bridge lounge.

Contact religion reporter Stephanie Mathias at [email protected].