On-campus Passover Seder

Apr 052012
Authors: Kate Simmons

Chabad is hosting a Passover Seder Friday at 7 p.m. in the Lory Student Center Main Ballroom to commemorate the Israelites’ Exodus from Egypt and bring CSU students and community members together to celebrate.

“It’s the most celebrated holiday in Judaism, so it makes it special that so many Jews from different walks of life can come participate,” Michael Lichtbach, senior mechanical engineering major said.

Rabbi Gorelik, Rabbi of the Chabad Jewish Center, said that everyone is welcome to come and share the food and come learn about the Jewish faith and customs of Passover.

Chabad is an outreach-based organization, Gorelik said.

“Chabad sets up shop anywhere to meet the needs of the diversity of the population there, or where the Jewish population is low,” he said. “There are over 3,000 worldwide.”

Since there is such a small population of Jews in Fort Collins, Chabad is putting on a Seder and inviting everyone who wishes to come, eat good food and learn about Jewish tradition.

“It’s a lot of fun, a lot of meaning, a lot of tradition,” Gorelik said. “Even non-Jews can relate to it on a cultural level. It’s not very prayer-oriented. Passover is a time for family to get together.”

Being a celebratory holiday in Judaism, the night will be full of energy, but there is a stretch of ceremony laden with tradition before the meal.

“We did the Seder (at home), but it wasn’t a huge undertaking. Here, you go through and do everything, and the meaning and the subtlety is explained,” Lichtbach said. “The educational part of it is really good. I learn so much at these Seders that I didn’t know at home.”

Gorelik agreed that the event has an educational aspect.

“At all our events, we explain everything. We explain the process so people understand what’s going on and the relevance to today,” Gorelik said. “The Seder is not just celebrating the Exodus. There is ongoing relevance.”

Lichtbach hopes the Seder will provide a “more diverse cultural background” to CSU.

“I’ve encountered some anti-Semitism here,” Lichtbach said. “The only way you can break through barriers and negativity and preconceived notions is through education. I feel like this is a good emergence experience for people to come and learn about what we do.”

“I hope people will walk away with a happier, deeper interpretation of Judaism,” Gorelik said, adding that it is important for Chabad to “provide that to the university.”

“Passover Seder teaches us the symbolism behind both the freedom and self-control we have been given,” Siobhan Waitzman, president of Chabad said.

Gorelik said Chabad is grateful for funding by ASCSU and the LSC and the support they receive from the kitchen staff and many volunteers.

“We thank everybody for being so gracious and helpful,” he said. “Without our volunteers, this event wouldn’t be possible.”

Gorelik also explained the work that goes into the event. The kitchen staff is very accommodating, as everything has to be Kosher. The ingredients in the food have been passed down through the generations and are traditionally significant.

The event will be held in the Lory Student Center North Ballroom at 7 p.m. tonight. If possible, RSVP at www.jewishcsu.com/seder so staff can anticipate attendance.

Collegian writer Kate Simmons can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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