UB students discuss observing Passover at school


Jessica Reznik scrubs her floors, vacuums her apartment and burns the traces of grain-based foods in her oven to make her home Kosher for Passover.

Passover is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the Israelite’s Exodus from Egypt when they were freed from slavery.

Those who observe the holiday don’t eat food with leaven, such as yeast, in order to stay Kosher for Passover. One of the main traditions of the holiday is the Seder, a festive dinner which occurs on the first two nights. The Seder involves the retelling of the story of Passover with songs and chants. People also eat symbolic foods, such as matzah, which is unleavened bread and maror, which are bitter herbs.

Students celebrating Passover can attend a Seder hosted by Jewish organizations on and off campus, such as Hillel of Buffalo and Chabad, respectively. Passover begins at sunset on April 10.

Reznik, a senior communication major, is planning to attend Hillel’s Seder on Monday and Chabad’s Seder on Tuesday. She will also be preparing her own food during the week, such as matzah pizza and matzah lasagna.

“It's pretty hard during the week because I am very limited in my options when it comes to food,” Reznik said. “Luckily, Chabad does provide dinners every night and lunches on most of the days, so that means less preparation for me.”

The Chabad House will be open throughout the holiday for anyone looking to observe and share Kosher for Passover meals.

“[The Chabad House is] a revolving door of people coming in and out,” Gurary said. “We look at it in a very positive way, it’s an opportunity, we’re happy to be able to share that.”

The N.Y. Deli and Diner in Talbert Hall offers Kosher food, but is only open Thursday and Friday during Passover. Goodyear dining hall also has Kosher options.

Gurary said some students won’t eat all day until they come to the Chabad House because of the strict Kosher diet they follow during Passover.

“They’re basically starving and coming here is their only access to the culture of Passover food,” Gurary said. “This service is even more vital for the students to have some access to be able [to keep kosher] for Passover.”

Joel Finkelstein, a senior history major, gave up on eating completely Kosher during Passover because it was difficult to find Kosher food while at school. Finkelstein said being at school for the holiday is a great experience but he misses his family during Passover.

“[Passover is] a very family-oriented holiday,” Gurary said. “It’s very hard for the family and the students to be away [from each other] for this time.”

Joseph Levy, a freshman communications major, said he is going to try to stick to the Kosher diet during his first Passover away from home but knows it will be difficult.

In recent years, UB has held classes during religious holidays, which many students and faculty have found disheartening. Gurary thinks it’s a shame UB doesn’t cancel classes.

Other schools such as SUNY Binghamton have off from classes from April 8 to April 17 to celebrate Passover, Easter and Spring Break combined. SUNY Albany also does not have classes for the first two days of Passover. Classes are still in session for all other SUNY schools.

Hillel of Buffalo will be hosting a Seder on Monday at 7 p.m. in the Wilkeson Coffeehouse. The Chabad House will be hosting a Seder on Monday and Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. at the Chabad House.

Victoria Hartwell is a staff writer and can be reached at news@ubspectrum.com