I had a wonderful time at Passover dinner this year. I was really excited to attend because I knew that there would be good food and I wanted to share my religion with my dykes (senior mentors at VMI). All of my dykes are Christians and throughout the ratline (the first year at VMI) they embraced and experienced Judaism with me. I thought inviting them to Passover dinner would be a nice way to share my culture. All of my dykes had a lovely time learning about the traditions and the religion itself. W&L Hillel has been a wonderful community to be apart of this year and I can’t wait to enjoy more events.
-Cadet Amber Levy VMI ‘19
My experience at the Passover Seder was very educational to say the least. As the female Cadet Chaplain at VMI this year, one of my goals was to explore religious beliefs and traditions other than my own, Christianity, and participating in the Seder helped me achieve that goal. There were a few moments during the ceremony that I wasn't quite sure what was going on or what it all meant, but in those moments there was always someone close by who was willing to explain it which made the experience that much more enjoyable. The haggadahs that were at each place setting are what I found to be the most helpful in not only obviously following along, but that gave some extra readings as to the stories, meanings and much more to each little detail that was in the dinner. Overall, it was a great experience that I was honored to have been invited to and to have been a part of this Passover season.
-Cadet Michaela Wright VMI ‘16
SVU STUDENTS SHARE IN SEDER For a class from Southern Virginia University that spent the semester surveying the history of American religion, the invitation to participate in the community Seder could not have been more welcome. For it to fall, too, on our last day of class made it a perfect celebratory conclusion. So it was. About half of the class members gladly broke away from finishing papers and studying for exams. Two faculty members came too, one with family, and shared in the great experience.
For that is what it was. Having traced the history of Judaism in America from colonial days to the present, observing Passover provided the rare opportunity to participate in something we have studied. “It was great to see people together to celebrate ancient tradition,” one student commented. “You can see why the tradition has lasted,” another concurred, citing the “literal connection” between symbols of the meal with events being recalled, and the immediacy of experience which symbol and story produced. But it became more than just academic. The Seder provided firsthand the chance to take part in the age-old remembrance of God’s mighty acts that are central to Jewish history—and are also part of their own. They gratefully agreed that the food was “delicious.”Most SVU students are active Mormons. They brought to the course a keen interest in religion in general. To share in the Seder, then, became not just an educational exercise, but also an opportunity to reflect on their own experience of a past in which they, too, share. Joining the celebration of faith at the Seder gave them the chance to deepen their own. Thank you to all our hosts.
-Adjunct Professor of History at Southern Virginia University David Cox