CSU students have fond memories of Passover Seders with their families – usually celebrated at grandparent’s houses. Rabbi Gorelik of CSU’s Chabad hopes tonight’s Passover Seder, hosted by ASCSU and Chabad, will provide students a celebration – a home away from home.
“For most people who experience Passover it’s a very important time – it’s a family time. Most families try to get together so we try to be a family for students away from home,” Gorelik said.
Gorelik, who like many of CSU’s Jewish students miss his family during Passover, said the community created at CSU’s Passover is a fulfilling substitute.
“I miss my family but when I look around and see a bunch of people having an amazing Passover experience I realize how much I want to be here,” Gorelik said. “I get such a joy seeing people and it makes the difficultly being away from my own family … it makes it all worth it.”
Michael Lichtbach, a senior who has attended and participated in the Seder through his last four years at CSU, agreed with Gorelik.
“We explain all the steps, what’s going on and why we do thing so people can understand what’s happening,” Lichtbach said. “We hope people have a greater understanding of what the Seder is and a taste of what Judaism is like if they haven’t grown up having a Seder or to recreate the feeling they had at home.”
The Seder follows the Exodus story – Moses leading the Jews out of their enslavement in Egypt.
Gabby Yuffa, a junior Social Work major and Event Manager of the Seder said her favorite part of the Seder as a child was dipping her finger in grape juice for every plague.
“You dip your finger into your grape juice for every plague to represent that plague – it was cool because you got to learn about the plagues,” Yuffa said. “What 9-year-old knows what locusts are? My grandpa would explain every plague every year.”
Gorelik said the freedom told in the story of Exodus is a symbol Jews still relate to.
“Each of the 15 steps of the Seder are another expression of self freedom and self refinement so the importance of Passover is both historical and cultural as well as contemporary,” Gorelik said.
According to Rebecca Schwartz, Passover is a time for Jews to feel at home.
“There’s this sense of camaraderie and hominess that comes with being at a Seder,” Schwartz said.
“It’s really important because it’s all about freedom and it’s all about how we used to be slaves and then we were free,” Schwartz said. “Now we’re salves but in a less obvious way – the whole point of the Seder is to recognize that.”
“Some of my favorite memories are me and my siblings looking for the afikomen – its like the Easter egg hunt but there’s only one Easter egg,” Schwartz said.
According to Lichtbach the Passover story is fundamental to Jews.
“It really helped form our identity as a tribe,” he said. “That whole story is pretty central to the Jewish identity.”