Elm Staff Writer
This past Tuesday, Washington College students, staff, faculty, and Chestertown community members came together to celebrate Passover Seder in Hynson Lounge.
Passover is a Jewish holiday that celebrates the perseverance and resilience of the Jewish people fleeing from enslavement thousands of years ago.
“Passover is the story of when the Jewish people were enslaved in Egypt and through the ten plagues and other miracles, God and his messenger, Moses, freed the Jews from slavery and the Jews became their own nation,” said sophomore Bradley Melzer, president of Hillel, WC’s student-led organization that supports the surrounding Jewish community.
“Passover is my favorite Jewish holiday because I find its message to be the most applicable to modern day life. In Biblical history and today, groups of people are oppressed, and it is our job as humans to tell their stories and work to eradicate all forms of slavery to make a more peaceful world for all,” freshman Kat DeSantis, Hillel communications director, said.
Melzer and DeSantis, along with other members of Hillel, were in charge of planning and organizing Tuesday’s Passover dinner.
Traditions featured at the dinner included the reading of passages from the Passover Haggadah by the members of Hillel, spilling a single drop of wine for each plague upon the Egyptians onto dinner plates, and eating bitter herbs with horseradish and servings of matzah ball soup.
“I like how the holiday serves as a celebration of people-from all different cultures, races, and backgrounds-coming together to appreciate life. We hope this holiday raises awareness of different religions and cultures in the community,” sophomore Vanessa Rupertus, vice president of Hillel, said.
Other attendees included students and faculty members, some of whom experienced Passover for the first time.
“Passover is a wonderful time of fellowship and sharing. This was my first Seder, and I found the traditions, symbols, and history embedded in the ceremony to be very moving,” Professor Susan Vowels, associate professor and chair of the department of business management, said.
“It’s a fun time to learn about the beliefs of friends and enjoy a nice meal together. This dinner helps make Jewish students on the Washington College campus feel part of the surrounding community,” senior Brianna Bricker said.
Many members of the Chestertown community who attended the event were asked to make a donation to Hillel in order to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s disease. Melzer thanked the members for their donations at the event.
“The Passover Seder was an opportunity for Jewish students, faculty, and the Jewish community in Chestertown to celebrate Passover on campus. For those that aren’t Jewish that attended, it was a great opportunity to learn about another culture, their rituals, and their history,” Melzer said.
Hillel members expressed their gratitude toward those who attended and hope that they gained a new appreciation for beliefs and traditions that may be different from their own.
“I hope that [WC] students and the Chestertown community are able to celebrate this Jewish tradition with us so that we all might be more understanding and inclusive of diversity,” DeSantis said.