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Passover Seder sees holiday celebrations with friends, family

Passover+Seder+sees+holiday+celebrations+with+friends%2C+family
Collegian | Falyn Sebastian

Sounds of conversation, speeches and skits took their turns filling the large ballroom hall as the Passover Seder festivities took off, setting a lighthearted and laughter-filled tone to the evening.

Monday, April 22, marked the 19th annual Passover Seder event for the Chabad Jewish Student Center at Colorado State University, which hosted the celebration for the 300 attendees. 

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The event was co-sponsored by the Associated Students of CSU, the CSU Hillel of Colorado, Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi, Alpha Epsilon Pi, the Lory Student Center and the CSU Residence Hall Association, who helped with funding, setting up and running the events throughout. 

The dinner celebration is part of the Jewish holiday of Passover, commemorating the liberation of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt during the 13th century B.C.

“Passover is one of the most celebrated Jewish holidays, and many students live far away from home, and for them to have that opportunity to celebrate here is something important, and we’re thrilled we can be a part of that experience.” –Yerachmiel Gorelik, rabbi and philosophy professor

Andy Davis, a chairperson of Chabad, said Passover is all about celebrating the freedom of the Jewish people not only as their exodus from Egypt but also as freedom from ego and the stresses of life.

The Passover dinner consists of 15 steps, each of which involves a different set of the five senses to communicate the story and messages of connectivity and freedom. These included songs, visual performances and the tastes of traditional foods.

These 15 steps were kept engaging and interesting for attendees of all backgrounds and ages through the use of interactive moments within skits performed by members of the Jewish community.

“It’s a very fun, lively event,” said Shayna Ross, director of the celebration and president of Chabad at CSU. “We’ll be having skits, food, hopefully some good jokes and laughs throughout it, and you can come in with zero experience or the most experience, and you’ll have a great time and learn a lot.”

For many, Passover also represents a time to come together as a community and to join with friends and family in celebration of Passover and each other. Rabbi Yerachmiel Gorelik said the event has been a way to connect with the community for over 1,000 years.

“Passover is one of the most celebrated Jewish holidays, and many students live far away from home, and for them to have that opportunity to celebrate here is something important, and we’re thrilled we can be a part of that experience,” Gorelik said. 

The holiday’s ability to bring people together was widely recognized by attendees and directors alike as being a great way for the community to interact and as a way to reinforce faith.

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“It’s brought friends and families together, so it’s really special, and even if you aren’t able to go for the entire thing, it’s just nice to kind of pay respects and connect back to Jewish roots,” said Jonah Jowell, a Jewish student at CSU.

Promotion of the holiday and the associated celebrations have been receiving attacks through vandalism and defacing. Gorelik said that this has been a trend over multiple campuses, resulting in some universities encouraging Jewish students to leave campus because it isn’t safe.

“There’s a lot going on in the world right now,” Davis said. “There’s a lot of different beliefs and hate going on and going around, especially on university campuses, which is really sad.”

However, Gorelik said the Jewish community is strong; throughout history, they have faced hard challenges and succeeded, and he is sure that their community will rise above these challenges stronger. 

“It’s sad — we had our Seder signs defaced,” Gorelik said. “We want to tell our students and the world that we have nothing to fear; we are strong; we are resilient. Difficulties and challenges have always brought the Jewish people to greater heights.”

Despite the hardship, the community has stayed very open to visitors and is always ready to share their culture in a fun and engaging way.

CSU student Casey Frye attended the event to celebrate alongside his Jewish friend despite not being Jewish himself.

“It was a very welcoming community,” Frye said. “I’ve never been to a Jewish event before, and since the moment (we) got here, we’ve kind of been wrangled into different parts of the ceremony, and that was pretty cool.”

Gorelik said the Passover celebration was organized and presented so that everyone could have an equally enjoyable time no matter where they came from or how much experience they had. 

“We make it an educational experience, so even if it’s your first time, you’ll be able to enjoy it, and you’ll know what’s going on,” Gorelik said. 

Reach Caleb Ediger at life@collegian.com or on Twitter @CSUCollegian.

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About the Contributor
Falyn Sebastian
Falyn Sebastian, Digital & Design Managing Edtior
After becoming a page designer as a sophomore, Falyn Sebastian evolved from print editor to design director and has now officially begun her new position as digital and design managing editor. Originally from the Big Island of Hawaii, she chose to attend Colorado State University to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration in graphic design along with a minor in entrepreneurship. When it comes to arranging content in The Collegian's newsprint, Sebastian formats and arranges the visual media that readers love in a physical copy. After attending content and budget meetings with the editors of each desk, she manages how each week's visual content fits into the paper by clicking through Adobe InDesign. With a combination of original photos, illustrative graphics and advertisements, Sebastian organizes and delegates tasks to her talented and ever-growing design team. As a graphic design student, journalism was not a field Sebastian intended to work in during college, but she embraced the world of publication design through The Collegian. As graphic design focuses on the importance of effective communication, she realized she was truly designing for a fulfilling purpose. Student media will forever have a happy home in her heart. Working with other students who are passionate about what is happening in their community drives her to continue working on impactful design. Sebastian looks forward to what is yet to come while gaining new experience and memories with her staff.

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