Passover Observances Offer Added Joy to End of Year Celebrations

June 6, 2024

Jewish Life celebrated Passover this year with a first night of Passover Seder on Monday, April 22. More than 120 guests including students, faculty, staff, and community partners joined for the celebration. The program welcomed individuals of a variety of Jewish and non-Jewish backgrounds, much like the Exodus that the holiday commemorates was comprised of a “mixed multitude.”

 An annual campus tradition, the Seder is a hallmark ritual in the Passover observance that seeks to help every participant feel as if they were personally redeemed from Egypt. Participatory by design, guests helped by leading various parts of the choreographed meal. Members of the Spider community, from Hillel student leaders to President Kevin Hallock, took turns reading, offering prayers, or leading the group in song. Jewish Life student interns started the program with welcome remarks, a brief introduction to the Passover holiday, and beautiful intentions for the festive meal. Jewish Chaplain and Director of Religious Life Josh Jeffreys then offered a short message addressing the added significance of the holiday during a year of profound pain for the Jewish community amidst rising antisemitism and ongoing heartache in Israel and Palestine.

Following the campus-wide Seder on April 22, a smaller group of 20 Jewish students organized a “home-hosted” Second Night Seder on April 23. Held in the Jewish Chaplain’s house, the more intimate evening was made possible through a more “potluck” style, and – despite overlapping with the last week of classes – students stayed later into the evening to share their personal family customs, foods, and songs.