Chabad at CSU spreads message of community at 13th annual Passover Seder

Audrey Weiss

Chabad, Jewish, matzo, Passover, Seder
The traditional Kosher dishes of unleavened bread, matzo ball soup, charoset and horseradish are served for those in attendance of CSU’s Passover Seder event hosted by the Chabad Jewish Student Organization. All photos were taken before sunset in accordance with Jewish tradition. (Davis Bonner | Collegian)

Chabad at CSU hosted their 13th annual Passover Seder dinner on Friday in the Lory Student Center’s North Ballroom. The event was co-sponsored by Associate Students of Colorado State University, CSU’s Residence Hall Association and the LSC.

The event brought students and community members alike together to celebrate Passover, which commemorates the liberation of Israelites as Egyptian slaves.

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Rabbi Yerachmiel Gorelik welcomed around 200 guests to the ceremony, giving some background on the relevance of Passover.

“The Seder is not just about commemorating history, it’s about going through a journey,” Gorelik said.

Over the course of the evening, Gorelik guided guests through the 15 steps of the Seder: Kadesh, U’rchatz, Karpas, Yachatz, Maggid, Rachtzah, Motzi, Matzah, Maror, Korech, Schulchan Orech, Tzafun, Berach, Hallel and Nirtzah.

Attendees participated in holiday activities, such as assembling their Seder plates, which included raw onions, a hard-boiled egg, shank bone, horseradish and lettuce; drinking wine or grape juice during blessings; and eating a kosher meal that included classic Jewish holiday foods like matzo ball soup, potato Kugel and black and white cookies.

Throughout the evening, Alpha Epsilon Pi and Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi, the two Jewish student Greek organizations on campus, guided readings and performed skits related to the text. In addition, they sang songs with attendees in both English and Hebrew.

Daniel Elliot, an alumni computer science student of CSU, said he decided to attend a Seder both on Friday and Saturday night.

“I thought it definitely met expectations,” Elliott said. “(There) was a huge effort to pull together the community, (and) I think they did a great job.”

“I thought it definitely met expectations. (There) was a huge effort to pull together the community, (and) I think they did a great job,” -Daniel Elliott, CSU alumni

Rabbi Yerachmiel Gorelik said one of Chabad’s hopes for this event was to bring together the Jewish community in northern Colorado, as a response to recent anti-Semitic occurrences on the CSU campus.

Elliott said acts like this increased by nearly 60% from 2016 to 2017, and he believes that Chabad at CSU has done a good job at being inclusive.

“In other events like the Menorah lightings, Chabad always has people from the city of Fort Collins, like the mayor, present at the events and able to participate,” Elliott said. “I think that sends a message that there is a bridge between the Jewish community and local government and that it is accepted.”

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Caitlin Langmead, a CSU graduate student in global public health, said she had always been interested in Judaism, but said she felt disconnected from her Jewish roots. She chose to attend this event by Chabad at CSU with her neighbor.

“When you don’t know anything about it, this is really approachable and fun and welcoming,” Langmead said.

Langmead said she would like to attend more events like this.

Matthew Merian, President of Chabad at CSU, said he thought the event went “extremely well.”

“People seemed to be pretty entertained,” Merian said. “A lot of people came up to me and said that it gets better every year.”

Merian said he was very happy that the community and the students were very engaged and actively participated in the songs and blessings.

“Our focus is a reminder that, ultimately family, community and spirituality will triumph over the evil and negativity,” Gorelik said.