Evans Hall Hosts Ceremonial Seder
To recognize the upcoming Jewish holiday, Gordon College’s own Evans Hall recently held a Passover Seder open to the entire student body. Resident assistants (RAs) Rachel Diomede ’18 and Patrick Shuman ’17 along with Dr. Marv Wilson, Harold John Ockenga Professor of Biblical Studies, led the event due to their Jewish heritage or knowledge of Jewish culture.
This Passover Haggadah, or “telling of the story,” was an interfaith Seder, which meant that anyone was welcome to attend. Many students who don’t live in Evans, including residents of the Road Halls and the Hill, participated in the ceremonial meal.
The word Seder means “order” or “arrangement.” During the ceremony, the table is set, food is prepared, stories are retold, and elements are partaken in a very particular way. The other Evans RAs and apartment coordinator Pollyanna Woods prepared the meal and helped host the event. Shuman and Diomede led everyone in Scripture readings and Hebrew prayers, as each cup or dish was consumed. The Seder was very interactive as the students not only ate but also recited traditional passages.
Shuman and Diomede led everyone in Scripture readings and Hebrew prayers, as each cup or dish was consumed. The Seder was very interactive as the students not only ate but also recited traditional passages.
Dr. Wilson gave a short talk on the history and meaning of the Seder. He said, “We vicariously relive the Exodus…the Passover is eating history.” This is very literal as each element partaken during the Seder has symbolic meaning. One example is the Maror, or bitter herbs, which symbolize the suffering in Egypt. At the Evans Hall Seder, this element was presented as a spicy horseradish dish. Charoseth is a sweeter dish made of apple, nuts, cinnamon and other spices; it represents the mortar the Israelites made and used during their slavery in Egypt.
Passover Haggadahs are held in March for a reason. Dr. Wilson said that “redemption takes place in the spring,” because the earth itself is a symbol of new life.
Evans Hall did an exceptional job putting on the event, and Diomede expressed hope to make it an annual event so that many more can dine by candlelight on Charoseth and Matza while soaking in a free lesson on Hebrew culture from the incredible Dr. Wilson.