Campus was left quieter this weekend as students dispersed to observe Passover and celebrate Easter.
For some, these holidays mean returning home to see their families but for others, Easter and Passover are spent with friends on campus.
Senior Elena Tayem went home to Boca Raton for Easter weekend. As a devout Catholic, she says she participates in the Lenten season – a religious observance that begins on Ash Wednesday and covers a period of approximately six weeks before Easter Sunday.
Every year, Tayem and her family paint Easter eggs together. They then use a white crayon to write the names of loved ones on the eggs. On Easter morning, she and her brother wake up to Easter baskets filled with chocolates and surprises.
“I normally give up sweets for Lent so being able to finally eat that Reese’s peanut butter cup egg is the best,” Tayem said.
Senior Yael Herman, who lives in Aventura, spent the weekend at home observing Passover with family.
“Observing is hard on campus for me,” Herman said. “I don’t really want to eat food even though I know some things are okay, just because I’m not 100 percent sure what’s in it.”
Herman’s Passover observance began Friday night with Seder, a Passover dinner, and readings from the Haggadah, a book that tells the story of the ancient Hebrews’ exodus and liberation from slavery in Egypt, Herman explained.
“In my family, everyone takes turns and reads from the Hagaddah,” she said.
The prayers for the food and the dinner followed an order, which in Hebrew means “seder,” and included blessings over the wine, parsley, bitter herbs and other traditional food items that are symbolic.
“It gets long and you get hungry, but it’s a good time,” Herman said.
Those observing Passover are not supposed to eat chametz products, such as grains and other bread products that rise and expand, Herman explained. This practice pays homage to the Israelites who did not have enough time for the bread they brought with them to rise when they were escaping Egypt.
Some families don’t eat rice either, but Herman says hers does.
“No bread, pasta, cookies, stuff like that,” Herman said. “So that’s what I watch for in my food. I don’t eat anything with dough, anything processed when I’m not home just to make sure.”
For students like Rebecca Singer, who do not live close to their families, observance of such holidays include spending time with friends instead. Singer held a Seder with her friends at an apartment off campus.
Last week, she and her friends a dinner for the first Seder and invited their Jewish and non-Jewish friends to celebrate with them, she said. For the second night, she went to Weston to have the Seder with her friend’s family.
“It’s different in college. My mom always cleaned the house of all things not kosher for Passover and cooked meals so it was easy to keep the holiday,” Singer said. “It’s a lot harder in the dining hall or even when I’m cooking for myself.”
Featured image courtesy Flickr user April Killingsworth