Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Students pass on celebrating Passover at NU

Communication sophomore Jamie Poslosky found it difficult to be away from home during Passover her freshman year. This year Poslosky is returning home to St. Louis for the Jewish holiday to eat the Passover seder with her extended family and two of her Northwestern friends.

“The Jewish holidays really symbolize family time,” Poslosky said. “Our seder dinner has 30 people. It’s been something pretty special to me and I really missed it last year.”

Poslosky decided that since this year’s Passover falls on a weekend, she would return home and invite two of her non-Jewish friends to her family celebration.

“It occurred to me that two of my best friends here aren’t Jewish and may not know much about Jewish customs or what Passover is,” she said. “My mom was very enthusiastic about bringing people over to experience Passover and when I approached (my friends), they were both very enthusiastic about it.”

Poslosky is one of many Jewish students at NU who are returning home to celebrate the Passover seder with family.

Fiedler Hillel Center Executive Director Adam Simon said that despite the center’s many opportunities during Passover, he would rather students be with their families if possible.

“It’s a holiday about how we survived as a Jewish people and came together, so for them to be able to be with their families is more fun and is what the holiday is all about,” Simon said.

There might also be a biblical basis for bringing non-Jews, like Poslosky’s friends, to Passover seders. Benjamin Sommer, program director of Jewish Studies at NU, cites the Bible as telling of this tradition.

“We’re told in Exodus 12:19 that Passover is something that all Israelites shall participate in and also the stranger among them,” Sommer said. “To some degree, the ‘stranger among you’ could mean the idea of inviting both Jews and non-Jews.”

While he thinks it’s great that this year’s calendar allows for many Jewish students to return home, acquiring one’s own holiday traditions in college is equally valuable, Sommer said.

“It’s very significant for a young adult to make his or her own choices about what style of seder to have,” Sommer said. “I think it can be interesting to find out how other families do things — there’s something educational and broadening about the years (students) don’t go home.”

Hillel makes experiencing a Passover seder with another family and developing new holiday traditions accessible for students, Simon said.

It sells “seder kits” that include training for Kosher cooking and the fixings for a seder plate, as well as a home hospitality program that sets up students with local families willing to host them for Passover seder. Hillel also provides on-campus seders and daily meals prepared in the Passover Kosher tradition.

Still there are students who recognize the traditional and religious benefits of going home for the holiday. Weinberg sophomore Brian Fryd is looking forward to returning home to Ardsley, N.Y., for his family’s Passover seder for traditional reasons.

“Part of the tradition is that each generation has a responsibility to teach the next, so there’s something to be said about hearing the story of Passover from your father,” Fryd said.

Weinberg freshman Alli Rosenberg said that the family aspect isn’t entirely religious.

“It’s more of a cultural and traditional thing,” Rosenberg said. “Every year since I was born I’ve gone to New York for Passover.”

Reach Amanda Palleschi at [email protected]

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881
Students pass on celebrating Passover at NU