Seder dinner an opportunity to share


Tonight at 7:30 p.m., Susquehanna will provide an opportunity for its community to find meaning and understanding at the 15th annual Passover Seder dinner.

“Too often, we don’t ask questions about what and why things mean something to each of us,” said Eli Bass, interim director of Jewish life.

“We need an opportunity to engage in the conversation of defining who we are.”

For many students, Seder dinner is one of the best moments for them to take part in this conversation.

“It’s a big community type of thing,” said junior Pamela Harvey. “You meet new people, and at the end of the night you share a memory with them.”

Passover is a week-long Jewish holiday celebrating the emancipation of the Israelites from their slavery in Egypt, Harvey explained. The Seder is the opening feast of the holiday.

The Seder will be catered. According to Harvey, food on the menu will include chicken, matza soup, vegetables and selected desserts.

To senior Hannah Frank, the Seder is more than just another tradition.

“It’s a nice chance to experience multiple cultures on campus without it feeling homogenous,” said Frank. “It gives everyone a chance to share what we feel about our cultures and what we feel about our campus culture.”

“It’s one of the best chances to jump into culture,” Bass said. He added that Passover is a holiday in which meaning should be questioned.

“We are a minority on campus; the question of meaning is part of a conversation that has been going on all year,” Bass said. He continued, “This is another chance to continue that conversation.”

The tradition of hosting the Seder at Susquehanna began in 1999, explained Laurence Roth, director of Jewish life and department co-chair for English and creative writing.

The first Seder celebration was called the Passover Mock Seder because it was held before the holiday as an event for teaching and learning, Roth stated.

“Jewish holidays are often an internal experience,” said Frank. “Passover is when we traditionally invite in people who don’t have anywhere to go. It’s all about community.”

“Not a lot of people know about Judaism,” said Harvey. “This is the chance to talk about our struggle and to address the struggles other minorities have experienced both on and off campus.”

“Judaism is a revolutionary tradition that has always been concerned about social justice,” said Bass. “It’s deeply concerned with fixing brokenness in the world.”

Bass explained that sharing ideas to find a common ground is a small part of trying to solve social justice problems. He explained that the Seder is the perfect opportunity to do so.

The Seder will be held at 7:30 p.m. in Evert Dining Hall. All students are welcome to attend. The meal will cost one meal swipe. There is no dress code.