Maryland Hillel puts a twist on traditions for Passover

By Alexandra Marquez

Maryland Hillel hosted a series of nontraditional Passover seders that included games and farm-fresh produce last weekend to give students a place to celebrate the Jewish holiday near campus.

The organization invited students to four different seders, two on Friday and two on Saturday.

On Friday, the organization hosted “With Liberty and Justice for All: A Traditional Family-Style Seder” and a “Kids’ Table” seder. On Saturday, Hillel hosted a “Fun & Games Seder” and a “Farm-to-Table Seder.” The two seders on Saturday ended up being held together, Hillel program & operations associate Alyssa Silva said.

About 35 students attended on Saturday, Silva said, and they were greeted with farm-fresh top rib roast and trivia style games.

“I think it’s important for us to add variety to the seders because students have often grown up doing some sort of traditional seder with their families,” she said. “As you grow older and develop your Judaism there are different ways to observe Passover.”

At the traditional Passover seder, the Passover Haggadah is read, which includes four questions about the Passover traditions. As part of the “Fun & Games Seder,” Silva said she and other hosts got creative with how they asked the questions.

“I changed the four questions into HQ-style questions and each table gave their answer based on [a set of] choices,” she said.

Silva noted Hillel’s importance for students that could not go all the way home for the holiday.

“It’s important for us to be that home away from home,” she said.

Junior psychology major Anna Melnick attended the seder on Saturday and appreciated the fun spin on traditional Passover customs. She particularly enjoyed a game where students were asked to search around the room for pieces of paper with aspects of the traditional Passover plate written on each one.

“My table did not win,” she said. “But it was really close!”

“Fun & Games Seder” also turned the “afikoman” tradition into a game. was one called The afikoman is a piece of matzah is traditionally split in two and hidden for children to find after the Passover meal. However, at this seder, instead of finding it, Melnick said students were asked to create as many words as possible out of the letters that spell afikoman.

Maryland Hillel has held nontraditional seders like these in past years as well. Silva said she hosted a Passover seder with a global focus last year, where students examined and tried Jewish Passover traditions from around the world.


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