Passover Seder Victoria Cervantes '14

It was the last Friday before final exams, and I was at a Community Passover event in Evans Dining Hall. I, a non-Jewish student, was fortunate enough to sit at one of the many round tables covered with Seder plates, wine, and food. The Passover Seder held by W&L's small and mighty Hillel was, thankfully, open to the community and I was introduced to a completely new type of religious celebration.

My first Passover celebration was an event that I will not soon forget. There was plenty of food, wine (four glasses each, if you wanted to do it right), singing, and community bonding. There was a strong sense of hospitality and companionship that night (but that wasn't too surprising since these are two benefits that I always recognize when attending Hillel-sponsored events) along with plenty of food on my plate (and in my stomach). The fact that I belong to the Protestant Christian faith has never caused any type of conflict or strife when I come to Hillel, and I think that there is a very inspiring atmosphere of tolerance on the Washington and Lee campus. I would have to say that although I enjoy coming to Hillel services, including Shabbat Shalom on Fridays, this Passover Seder was a very special event and one of my favorites. Passover 2012 was a very exciting celebration, perhaps because it was the first service of this type that I have attended, but I find it hard to imagine that any Passover celebration is not at least moving or stirring. It is the celebration of a people's exodus from Egypt, a country in which they were oppressed by slavery and religious discrimination. During the service we ate the traditional items on the Seder plate, we recited the ten-plagues that descended upon the Egyptians, and we ate the unleavened bread just as the Israelites did when fleeing from Egypt. Attending Passover was just another confirmation to me that W&L's Hillel is a tightly-knit community that is part of a bigger world of ancient and sacred traditions that I have begun appreciate because of the welcoming arms of the groups' members.