By Courtney Cohn

For Mitzpeh


Matzah and Haggadot are classic elements of a Passover seder. Photo by Courtney Cohn.

Passover celebrations are back in full swing for students at this university after COVID-19 restrictions have eased this past year.

Many Jewish organizations on campus have held events for Passover and will continue through this week. Groups like Hillel and Chabad had seders on Friday and Saturday for students and staff.

Remi Jungreis, a junior family science major, spent the first and second night of Passover at Chabad.

“I really like Chabad, and it was just easier for me to stay on campus and have a seder here,” she said.

Jungreis has attended many seders over the years, and her favorite thing about Passover is experiencing how different people conduct their seders.

Also, study abroad programs have resumed as COVID-19 cases have decreased in the U.S. and in certain countries. Maren Berman, a junior civil engineering major, is currently studying abroad in Spain, so her Passover experience has been unique.

It has been difficult for Berman to make plans in an unfamiliar place. She decided to spend the second night of Passover with a friend.

“Spending Passover in another country is really unique and kind of an isolating experience for me. I am used to having big family seders, but now I’m on my own,” Berman said.

Also, during Passover, many Jews keep a strict Passover diet, which means they cannot eat anything containing certain grains, including wheat, rye, spelt, barley and oats, which are in foods like bread and pasta. However, this is not super easy for Berman while studying abroad.

“It’s difficult to find food that fits how strict I normally keep kosher during Pesach, so I have to make do with what’s available,” she said.

Justin Bloomberg, a junior mechanical engineering major, also observed Passover at home with his family. He went to a family friend’s house for the first night, and he had a small seder on the second night with his family, including his grandparents.

Prior to the pandemic, Bloomberg would always spend Passover with his grandparents, but due to COVID-19 safety concerns, they had to halt that tradition.

“Now, our family is comfortable coming back together. It’s just nice to have everyone back together after not being able to meet for like the past two, three years,” Bloomberg said.

Julia Felrice, a senior biological sciences major with a specialization in cell biology and genetics, was able to take advantage of both going home and staying on campus. She spent the first night of Passover at Hillel, and the second night at home with her extended family.

This was different than last year when she had seders with just her mom, dad, and brother due to COVID-19. She really appreciates that she can return to normal Passover celebrations this year with bigger groups of people.

“That’s a lot more special because I think this is a holiday that you want to celebrate with other people,” Felrice said.

Aside from spending time with family and friends, she said her favorite part of Passover is eating matzah, especially matzah brei and chocolate matzah.

This upcoming week, students like Felrice can continue eating matzah at the Matzah Bake with the Jewish Student Union on Tuesday, and students can continue practicing Passover traditions during a discussion with Jewish Women’s International about the Passover story and how it connects to our modern-day lives on Wednesday.


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