At the heart of UArizona Hillel’s mission is to help students develop a vibrant, diverse, meaningful, and empowered Jewish community here on campus. The way that mission comes to life during Passover is to take direction from students, and to have a wide variety of programming and access points, so that as many students as possible can make meaning in our season of redemption.
Okay, but what does that look like practically?
- A pre-Pesach learning (part of the Together in Jewish Learning community-wide event) where 18 students gathered together for desserts, MOTH-style storytelling about Jewish identity, and a deep dive into five parts of the Haggadah that deal with identity.
- A chametz-fest with our Rosh Chodesh women’s group, followed by Bedikat Chametz, a facility-wide chametz-hunt with feathers, candles, and spoons.
- A totally custom-made Haggadah put together with love and pride by our student Passover taskforce.
- A robust host-your-own seder kit available to any student. It comes with matzah, a grocery store gift card, table décor, myriad Pesach resources, and a Haggadah. The kits are free, the only requirement? That the students come discuss the themes of Pesach with staff, and get any of their questions about hosting answered.
- A large first-night seder at Hillel. Completely student-led, the seder will acknowledge what it feels like to come together after pandemic, include Jewish traditions beyond Ashkenazic, offer prayers for peace in Ukraine and around the world, and mostly allow students to really step into the joy of being together and the feeling of freedom. For the vast majority of students, it will be their first Passover seder at Hillel.
- Matzah s’mores, drinks, and a Pesach sing-along at a campfire in my backyard.
- Four kosher-for-Passover lunches that are designed to build community: think make your own matzah pizza, yogurt parfait building, and best-matzah-topping competitions.
- A kosher-for-Passover homemade dairy dinner and Jewish-themed movie night at Hillel, with a little text study thrown in.
We expect to see more students over the course of Passover than we have in many years. Instead of having one overarching goal, our goal changes student-by-student. Our mission is to help each engage on their terms; to find their own path. For some that will mean coming to virtually every program. For some it will mean they pick up a seder kit, and it’s their first touchpoint with Jewish institutional life for years, or maybe ever. And for others, they may just be looking to hear a familiar tune or taste a familiar dish as they are away from their families on Pesach for the first time in their lives. No matter the need, we are here to greet them with open doors and all the matzah they can handle.