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Supporting Students, Staff, and Faculty During Passover

Passover, or Pesach in Hebrew, is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the story of the ancient Israelites’ exodus from slavery in Egypt. On Pesach each year, Jews around the world not only remember, but also retell the story of the exodus from Egypt. The story of the exodus is the archetypal model of redemption for the Jewish people. In Hebrew, the word for Egypt is “mitzrayim,” which means narrow straits or places of constriction. This journey to freedom involves the transformative process of moving from the narrow place out into the openness of the desert, the uncharted wilderness that is both uncertain and rich with possibilities. 

Passover starts on the evening of Friday, April 15th, and ends the 7-day festival at sunset on Friday, April 22nd. During Passover, many Jewish families engage in fasting from “chametz,” leavened bread, and anything from the major grains that has not been completely cooked within 18 minutes after coming into contact with water. This removal of chametz commemorates the fact that the Jews left Egypt in a hurry and did not have time to let their bread rise.

Given Passover’s placement during the academic year, this may impact Jewish students, staff, and faculty in various ways. In addition to being aware of this religious observance, you can support members of the Jewish community this week in the following ways:

  • Be mindful of the dietary restrictions connected to the holiday. Provide access to kosher food for any gatherings or events. Visit https://www.kosher.com/recipes/passover for example recipes.

  • Offer to hold onto your friend's chametz during Passover or ask your friend if they have someone to sell it to. It is a good way to show your friends that you care.

  • Spend time learning more about the holiday and its importance to Jewish community members. 

Passover Observance at UMBC

UMBC Hillel and UMBC Chabad will be hosting a variety of programs for Passover and the intermediate days of the holiday. Interested students can do the following:

Participating students are expected to ensure that the space is left clean and organized, and all materials and supplies are put neatly away so that the space can be ready for use during regular business hours. This includes ensuring that ALL food products have been appropriately disposed of and cleaned. Participating students are expected to follow the student code of conduct, and respect the space and property of i3b and the Center for Well-Being. 

Passover Dining at UMBC

UMBC students celebrating Passover can join UMBC Hillel and Chartwells for the First Night Passover Sedar. This will be held on Friday, April 15, beginning at 5:30 pm, in the Chartwells Office - Conference Room. To access the space, students should enter through the doors to the left of True Grits that lead to the office space, and turn right at the end of the entranceway. 

Dining options for students needing kosher meals from April 15 - 22 are extremely limited but can be arranged by contacting David Glenn (david.glenn@compass-usa.com) from Chartwell’s Dining. Students will also find limited supplies for kosher snacks and access to a kosher toaster oven within the Gathering Space for Spiritual Well-Being. If you have additional questions about programming or dining options, please connect with Rabbi Jeremy Fierstein (jif@umbc.edu).


If you are in need of religious accommodations, please contact the Office of Equity and Inclusion at oei@umbc.edu. For questions about religious and spiritual resources, please contact Dr. Jasmine A. Lee, Director of Inclusive Excellence/Initiatives for Identity, Inclusion & Belonging (i3b) jaslee@umbc.edu.

Posted: April 13, 2022, 12:15 PM