More than 70 Rollins students, faculty, staff and community members gathered in the Galloway Room at 6 p.m. April 5 to celebrate Passover Seder dinner with the Jewish Student Union (JSU). Organized by JSU president Dan Berlinger ‘13 with help from the Office of Multicultural Affairs, Hillel, and members of the University of Central Florida community, the event has become an annual tradition at Rollins.
Rabbi Chaim Lipskier led ceremonies, and students from Rollins and UCF were invited to speak about what various parts of the dinner meant to them. According to Berlinger, “The purpose of Passover is to remind us of the story of exodus and is an attempt to mend the world, which is called tikkun olam,” he said.
Student speakers provided valuable insight into the modern applications of age-old stories and asked important questions. One UCF student asked, “Anger is not necessarily bad. Gandhi was angry. Mandela was angry. But how do we know when our constructive anger turns into destructive anger? Can we ever trust our emotions?” Amanda Gershenov ‘15 asked, “Is it our duty to mend a broken world? Or should we be learning how to exist in a world that is broken?”
The Passover Seder dinner is filled with traditions that are meant to make people ask “why?” This question invites explanations of the Jewish faith and the exodus from Egypt. The holiday also emphasizes the importance of storytelling as one of the most important ways to pass knowledge through traditions. The Passover Seder tradition itself is nearly 3,500 years old.
This year’s dinner included a kosher feast of “wine” (grape juice), matzah, matzah ball soup, beef brisket, potatoes, vegetables and brownies.
“It was so nice of Rabbi Lipskier to bring over all that great food for us. I am so thankful that his family and him prepared such a lovely meal to share at the Seder. Everyone enjoyed it very much, especially the brisket. It was one of the best I have ever had,” said Melanie Weitzner ‘13.