About 20 students came together to celebrate Passover seder at a table that stretched the width of the Campus Y Faculty Lounge Tuesday night.
The ritual Jewish dinner was organized by a group of students that seeks to promote dialogue about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
While the event celebrated the Jewish holiday, it attracted students of varied religious and political backgrounds.
“It’s putting aside the debate for a night and celebrating one side’s traditions,” said freshman Grayson Bland.
The event represented a collaboration between the N.C. Hillel and the Arab Student Organization in an effort to start a dialogue about the conflict.
“This is kind of our kick-off,” said Yasmeen Zamamiri, an event organizer and one of several first-time seder participants at the dinner.
“I’m here to celebrate, and learning about my friends’ religion is great,” Zamamiri said. “Trying to educate the public about the conflict without being educated myself is impossible.”
Participants said the unique focus of the seder was what attracted them.
“It’s a part of my heritage, and I don’t know a lot about it,” freshman Jacob Lerner said.
Passover celebrates the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt with an eight-day festival held during the Jewish month of Nissan. The central events of Passover are the seders held on the first two nights of the holiday.
The seder was part of N.C. Hillel’s “Passover Your Way” program that helps students to plan and create their own seders, providing them with subsidized food and training on how to conduct a seder.
Ben Elkind, the main organizer of the event, said he wanted to promote dialogue on the conflict because he felt it was important.
“This conflict hits particularly close to home both as a Jewish person and someone who cares about peace and freedom,” he said.
Elkind said he thought everyone could learn from the celebration and discussion.
“This seder is about questions of justice and freedom. The most important thing about this holiday is that it’s about questions.”
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