Baha'i News -- Colorado State U. celebrates Passover holiday

Colorado State U. celebrates Passover holiday

By Sara Brown
Rocky Mountain Collegian ( Colorado State University)

(U-WIRE) FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- Laughter, music, dancing and prayer filled the West Ballroom of the Lory Student Center at Colorado State University on Wednesday night as about 150 people, both young and old, celebrated Hillel's Passover Seder.

Passover is a celebration of the Israelites' deliverance from slavery and oppression. During a Passover Seder, the Haggadah, which literally means "the retelling," is read, and the story of the Exodus from Egypt is retold.

"I ask you, why is this Passover different from all other Passovers?" said Hedy Berman, director of Hillel at Colorado State University. "The theme of Passover's story is freedom. And this year, more than ever, we need to celebrate freedom."

Symbolic foods from the Seder plate are eaten during the ritual part of the Passover Seder.

Pesach, the roasted shank bone, is to remind the Jews of the sacrifice the Israelites made before they left Egypt. Maror, or bitter vegetables, are eaten to remind the Jews of the bitterness the Hebrew slaves felt when they were enchained in Egypt. The egg is a symbol of mourning, and the Matzah, flat unleavened bread, is eaten to remind the Jews that when the Israelites escaped from Egypt, they did not have time to let their bread rise.

"This bread is not full of air, and sometimes, we, in our daily lives, can become 'full of air,' becoming pompous and cocky," said Alyce Arnick, Hillel president and a senior majoring in English literature. "As we eat the bread, we actually humble ourselves and think about times when we are self-inflated, and we can bring ourselves back to the focal point of modesty."

For Berman, the Passover Seder is not just a time for retelling, but for reliving. Jews are commanded in the Haggadah to "look upon yourself as if you have gone forth from Egypt," Berman said.

Many people who celebrated Passover at Hillel's Seder did so for different reasons.

Jen Perrin, a junior majoring in commercial recreation and tourism at CSU, identifies with the Baha'i faith, but chooses to celebrate Passover to honor her traditions.

"My heritage is Jewish," Perrin said. "Both my parents raised me as a reform Jew and I choose to continue to celebrate my heritage while I'm away at college."

Robert Siegel, a junior majoring in computer science, finds Passover a time to be thankful.

"During the Passover Seder, we'll talk about how Jews were slaves in the past, and we spend a lot of time talking about how slavery is bad and how oppression is bad," Siegel said. "There are people in the world that are still oppressed, so it's a time to be thankful about where you are at, and a time to (reflect) on how we can help those people too."

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