With Passover fast approaching, many college students will be heading back home to celebrate the holiday with their families. But not every student will make the trip back: some international students or others who live far from the Washington area may not have the time, ability or money to go back home for Passover.
Hillel and Chabad centers at colleges across the country continue to offer Passover events and resources so students can celebrate the holiday close to campus.
The Chabad at University of Maryland College Park will be holding seders for students on April 5 and 6, as well as providing Passover supplies for anyone who would like them.
Chabad is helping to facilitate orders of handmade shmurah matzah, providing information on how to hold DIY seders and even having a chocolate-themed seder for students on April 3.
“Passover is a home-based holiday for most families. In fact, it was at the Exodus when the Jewish people first became a large nation and family,” said Rabbi Eli Backman, director of the Chabad Student Center at the University of Maryland College Park. “Most U-Md. students go home [for Passover] or to a nearby friend’s house. But those who don’t also deserve a festive and meaningful holiday.”
He recalled a student who he met at a second seder. Backman asked where she had been the first night. She said she had stayed in her dorm because she had forgotten to RSVP for a seder. But a hallmate told her to go to Chabad, even if she hadn’t made reservations.
Another Jewish student organization offering Passover resources is Mason Hillel of George Mason University. Rabbi Daniel Novick said that Hillel provides a variety of holiday programs to suit people’s needs.
“It is important for us to provide multiple options for our students, since we are committed to providing meaningful Jewish experiences for all of the Jewish student population at George Mason University,” said Novick.
In addition to Passover seders, Mason Hillel will also be offering a Pesach song session and a “Prince of Egypt” watch party where students can enjoy the Dreamworks animated classic about Moses. Some of these offerings are scheduled before Passover actually starts, so even those who are going home can participate.
“Since Judaism looks and feels different for each student, we try our best to offer a variety of experiences that our students can choose from so that they can celebrate the holiday on their own terms and within the context of a larger community,” Novick added. ■