Jewish community celebrates Passover Seder at CSU in 15 steps


Collegian | Falyn Sebastian

DJ Vicente, Staff Reporter

The Jewish community of Colorado State University, Fort Collins and Northern Colorado came together for Passover Seder, which was held 7 p.m. April 5 at the Lory Student Center.

Held by Chabad of Northern Colorado, with co-sponsors the Associated Students of CSU, the Residence Hall Association and Hillel of Colorado, Passover Seder brought large numbers of Jewish community members in for a night that reached “deep into the human psyche in every way possible and all at once,” according to “The Seder Guide” program booklet at the event.


Members of Chabad started the night off with a story and explanation of the importance of Passover through the first question from the “Ma Nishtana”: “Why is this night different from all other nights?”

“We reflect upon our history,” said Lauren Maskus, a member of Chabad and Jewish sorority Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi. “Let us also reflect on upon our lives as Jews right now and Jewish allies. With a rise of antisemitic attacks against Jews, it is up to us to stand together and fight and resist against hate.”

Adam Fox, director of Jewish student life at Hillel of Colorado, shared his thoughts on the personal importance he finds in Passover Seder, noting the importance of the concept of “transition” that comes with the holiday, engaging in self-growth, from the historical transition from slavery to freedom for Jews in the past, to personal growth with insight in one’s life.

“We have this physical and spiritual freedom,” Fox said. “It’s important that we as people have both. … Sometimes it’s a struggle that we go through life and feel like we’re stuck in something. To me, the message of Passover is, ‘Don’t feel like you’re stuck.’ … By doing that, you will achieve that part of freedom, and you’ll be fulfilling that idea of Passover that we are free people.”

Alongside members of Chabad and the Jewish community, Rabbi Yerachmiel Gorelik was also present at Passover Seder, giving his own speeches about the importance of the holiday as well as leading songs throughout the night.

“Judaism recognized that once a year you go through a self-help process … to break out of whatever it is that’s holding you back from reaching your full potential and being as happy as you could possibly be,” Gorelik said.

Chabad at CSU’s Passover Seder is a 15-step dinner, with each step, Gorelik said, providing psychological, emotional and spiritual insight on how one can move forward and asking questions about life in order to move ahead being improved for the future.

The four questions of Passover Seder, or the “Ma Nishtana,” ask about the importance of each step in the night with answers detailing why. The four questions are as follows, according to the Chabad of Northern Colorado website:

1. On all nights we need not dip even once, on this night we do so twice?
2. On all nights we eat chametz or matzah, and on this night only matzah?
3. On all nights we eat any kind of vegetables, and on this night maror?
4. On all nights we eat sitting upright or reclining, and on this night we all recline?

Throughout the night, the 15 steps were carried out by members present at the dinner, each step corresponding to a certain food or beverage being eaten or drank, according to the “The Seder Guide.”


Examples in the booklet were carried out through the night. These included making a blessing over a cup of wine or grape juice, or the first step, Kadesh, which is meant to “separate ourselves from the mundane past that enslaves us.” Matzah, the eighth step in Seder, involves blessing and eating bread of the same name, calling it the “bread of faith,” for the first night of Seder.

The fifth step of Seder, known as Maggid, details the asking of the four questions, its significance being the “freedom to ask questions,” according to the booklet.

“Not only are we free to ask, we must ask,” the booklet read. “Healthy questions are an expression of the search and striving for something higher, reaching out for a place that is beyond us.”

The second night of Passover Seder was held April 6, the following night.

Reach DJ Vicente at or on Twitter @DeejMako.