UT Students Celebrate Passover

The University of Tampa Chabad celebrated the Jewish holiday of Passover with its third annual campus Seder last Wednesday.

Passover, which lasts eight days, celebrates the Israelites’ escape from enslavement in Egypt thousands of years ago.

Among the 50 attendants in the Plant Hall Music Room were both UT students of Jewish faith and students of other beliefs. Also in attendance was Holocaust survivor Cantor William Hauben.

The Seder, led by Rabbi Levi Rivkin, consisted of an hour of reading from the Haggadah, a religious text that tells the story of Passover.

‘Haggadah,’ which literally means ‘telling,’ says, ‘in every generation one must view himself as if he himself is going out of Egypt.’

In addition to telling the story of Passover, the Haggadah includes many prayers and Passover customs.

One such custom is the Seder Plate, which holds six different foods, all symbolic of the escape from Egypt. The six foods include lettuce (or another type of vegetable), a shankbone, charoset (made with apples, walnuts and red wine), egg, horseradish and maror (bitter herbs).

After the readings and customary Seder Plate, guests enjoyed a traditional Passover meal. The meal was prepared by the Chabad Rabbi’s wife from USF who also prepared a Seder for 150 students there.

The meal included matzo, unleavened bread that is eaten during Passover instead of bread.

In their escape from Egypt, the Israelites did not have time to let the bread they had prepared rise. Instead, they ate flat, unbaked bread.

Cakes, cookies, crackers, cereal and other types of leavened bread or grains (also known as chametz) are not allowed during Passover.

Rabbi Rivkin’s wife, Chana Rivkin, was also instrumental in putting together the Seder, as were some students, including Sophie Erber, Diana Lott, Ross Draluk and Lindsay Hoffman.

Rabbi Rivkin believes this Seder was ‘the most successful in student turnout.’ He wished for students who attended this year’s Sedar to come back again next year and bring their friends.

‘I hope this past Chabad Seder at UT has inspired the attendants,’ said Rabbi Rivkin, ‘and that they will take the message of Passover with them throughout the rest of the year.’

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