Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Chabad House to host Seder dinners Friday, Saturday to celebrate Passover

By Lia Gips

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Collegian File Photo

Collegian File Photo

The Chabad House at the University of Massachusetts will host 90-minute Seder dinners to celebrate Passover on Friday, April 22 and Saturday, April 23, both at 8:30 p.m.

The Seders are intended to serve as options for Jewish students who may not have time to attend a regular-length Seder and for non-Jews interested in learning about Passover.

“We want to have an authentic Seder that covers the most important parts of the story of Moses, and to be understanding of a hectic time for students during finals,” said Yocheved Adelman, co-director of the Chabad House. Chabad is located at 30 North Hadley Rd. in Amherst, near the Southwest Residential Area.

UMass students are not required to register or RSVP to the event and are welcome to come and go as they please.

“We want students to feel comfortable to just drop in,” said Adelman, who is planning for up to 100 attendees each night.

For both nights, Chabad will serve a four-course dinner of salad, fish, chicken and vegetable dishes, including a potato kugel casserole, followed by ice cream. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options will be available for dinner and dessert, as well as gluten-free matzoh and sulfate-free grape juice.

The first half of the Seder will serve ceremonial wine, with grape juice for non-drinkers, as well as matzoh and the traditional pieces of a Seder plate: hardboiled egg, lamb shank, charoset, bitter herbs and lettuce.

Adelman and four other cooks have been working intensely to prepare their Seders.

“It’s my most favorite holiday and also the most work,” she said. “It offers a real new look at who you are in life.”

As a text for the evenings, the Seders will use an authentic English and Hebrew Haggadah. Chabad’s version was arranged approximately 200 years ago but will use a more modern translation into English.

“The important part is the conversation, not just reciting the text,” Adelman said.

In addition to reading the text and telling the story of Passover, students will have the opportunity to discuss their insights into the ongoing relevance of the Jew’s flight from Egypt 3,000 years ago.

“Is everyone free; is there still slavery? Maybe it takes a different form than it used to,” Adelman said. “I think this is an opportunity for students to think about what Pesach (the week of Passover observance) really means to them.”

In addition to the two Seders, Chabad House will be serving Kosher for Passover breakfasts, lunches and dinners through the following week of Pesach. According to Adelman, this is in part because UMass dining halls only provide Kosher for Passover meals to students on a full-time Kosher meal plan.

Lia Gips can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @lia_gips.

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