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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Students celebrate Passover

    Engineering sophomore Josh Grosman waits for the ceremony to begin at last nights UA Passover Seder at the University Park Marriott Hotel.
    Engineering sophomore Josh Grosman waits for the ceremony to begin at last night’s UA Passover Seder at the University Park Marriott Hotel.

    Students who were unable to go home for Passover gathered as a family to celebrate the traditional meal marking the beginning of the Jewish festival last night.

    “”It’s a Monday and I decided to do the holiday here with my second family,”” said Jake Baiba, a mathematics junior.

    About 3,000 years ago, before the Old Testament was written, the Jewish people were slaves under Egypt’s Pharaoh, said Rabbi Yossi Winner, a co-operator of Chabad Jewish Student Center at the UA.

    The first day of Passover, marked by the traditional Seder meal, is the eve of the anniversary of the day the Jewish people were freed from Egypt by God, Winner said.

    This was the fifth annual Seder meal put on by Chabad, and about 300 students were expected to attend throughout the night, Winner said.

    “”This is the biggest Passover celebration in the history of the UA,”” Winner said.

    Usually a Seder is a family gathering, but many students did not get the chance to go home, Winner said.

    “”Everybody sitting here tonight, their great-great- (and so on) grandparents were freed in Egypt,”” Winner said.

    The meal includes a ceremony with 15 parts commemorating what the people did 3,000 years ago and what it means to be a member of the Jewish faith today, said Naomi Winner, the rabbi’s wife and co-coordinator of the event.

    “”It’s not just a regular meal,”” Naomi Winner said.

    Last night’s Seder participants began with a toast to freedom with either wine or grape juice and continued by eating special foods that signify different aspects of the historic event.

    During Seder the story of the Jewish Exodus is told, prayers are spoken and the people are blessed.

    Eating unleavened Matzah, bread made of only flour and water, is also an important part of the Seder meal, Yossi Winner said.

    Matzah represents how the people rushed out of Egypt without even taking time to let their bread rise, he said. It also represents freedom.

    The meal also incorporates eating vegetables dipped in salt water that represents the tears of the Jewish people and bitter herbs that represent the bitterness of their slavery in Egypt.

    The meal closed with a reflection on what it meant to take part in the celebration and how the events that happened so long ago are still relevant.

    The meal was funded through donations, and use of the venue, at the Marriott University Park hotel, 880 E. Second St., was paid for by the Associated Students of the University of Arizona.

    “”I think it’s great because (Chabad is) hosting 300 students and not even asking a dime for this,”” Baiba said.

    “”I would have gone home if there was no huge Seder, but now it’s not that big a deal,”” said Scott Schneider, a psychology sophomore.

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