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Syracuse Hillel Plans Seders, Meals Next Week in Celebration of Passover
Next week, members of the Jewish community will celebrate Passover, one of the most important holidays of the Jewish faith tradition. The eight-day celebration commemorates the liberation of the Jewish people from slavery in ancient Egypt and their freedom as a new nation.
“It’s a holiday that is really celebrated in the home, with family and family traditions,” says Rabbi Leah Fein of Syracuse University’s Winnick Hillel Center for Jewish Life.
For students who are not at home to celebrate, Hillel has planned a series of events that will help them to establish new traditions with their friends and others in the campus community.
The celebration includes two Passover Seders—ritual celebrations with the retelling of the story of liberation. The First Seder will be held on Friday, April 19, in the Dome, and the Second Seder, a more intimate gathering, will be held on Saturday, April 20, at the Winnick Hillel Center, 102 Walnut Place. Doors will open both evenings at 5:30 p.m., and the Seders will begin at 6 p.m.
The Seder celebrations require a R.S.V.P. by Friday, April 12, at syracusehillel.org/Passover.
Throughout Passover, April 20-27, Kosher for Passover meals will be offered at the Hillel Center. Lunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The cost of each meal is one meal plan swipe, and an R.S.V.P. is not required. Visit the website listed above for more information.
More than 400 guests are expected at the Seder in the Dome, including Chancellor Kent Syverud and Dr. Ruth Chen, Provost Michele Wheatly and Hendricks Chapel Dean Brian Konkol. Maya Alperin, a sophomore psychology major in the College of Arts and Sciences and one of the lead organizers of the event, will give opening remarks.
The event will include a community service project in collaboration with OttoTHON and a performance in Hebrew by the Oy Cappella a capella group.
Students will tell the story of Passover through activities and traditional Passover foods. In the middle of each table will be the traditional seder plate, filled with foods that symbolize the Israelites journey to freedom. They include a shank bone (Passover), an egg (rebirth), maror (bitter herbs—bitterness of slavery), karpas (vegetables—spring and renewal), haroset (sweetness of freedom), saltwater (tears) and matzah (the bread made in haste). The Syracuse plates also include an orange, representing marginalized communities.
Alperin says the Seder in the Dome has been planned to appeal to all who are not at home to celebrate this special holiday. “As someone who loves her Seder at home, I wanted to be a part of planning a celebration that is inviting and inclusive,” she says. “We have a community service project in partnership with OttoTHON, a gameshow style telling of the Passover story and so much more. However, we also hold on to all the traditions and meaningful parts of the Seder, so everyone can find something that reminds them of their Seder at home,” she says.
Alperin helped to plan Seder in the Dome last year as well. “It was such an incredible experience, as I had the opportunity to meet so many different students, alumni and faculty and staff,” she says. “The Dome is such a monumental place on our campus, and to be able to celebrate such an important holiday there made the night even more special. I am so excited for Passover this year.”
Fein is also looking forward to the celebrations. “I hope that those who attend will walk away having learned a new tradition,” she says.
All members of the University community are invited to take part in the celebrations. For questions or accommodation requests, contact Fein at firstname.lastname@example.org.