BYU celebrates Passover



    Guests on BYU campus celebrated the Jewish Passover Saturday to commemorate the deliverance of the once-captive Israel.

    The Passover service is being offered on campus eight different nights in March and April to accomodate 200 nightly guests. Victor Ludlow, professor of ancient scripture and a specialist in Jewish studies, hosts the Passover service.

    Ludlow said the Passover consists of a traditional “seder” service. The word “seder” is Hebrew for “order,” Ludlow said. The seder service includes 14 different steps.

    “For example the eating of the bitter herbs and the unleavened bread are steps of the service. Over the centuries, traditions were added to it and all of this became known as the seder service,” Ludlow said.

    Ludlow opened Saturday’s service by telling the participants they were doing something that their ancestors have done for years. Jesus and his family attended a Passover, similiar to the one celebrated on campus, every spring in Jerusalem, Ludlow said.

    The first Passover was probably a scary night for those who put the lamb’s blood above their doorways, Ludlow said. They were even commanded by Moses to eat the roasted lamb while they were standing up, ready to flee at any second.

    Guests participated in all 14 steps of the Passover service. As the participants broke and passed the matzah, commonly known as the unleavened bread, Ludlow explained the symbolism behind all the parts of the Passover.

    “The bitter herb reminds us how the Egyptians made bitter the lives of our forefathers in Egypt,” Ludlow said as participants choked down the potent horseradish.

    Participants sang songs to praise the Lord and chanted blessings with each step of the Passover. An empty seat was left for the hallowed guest of the Passover, Elijah.

    “While the Jews still await the coming of Elijah every Passover, we know that he did in fact appear to Joseph Smith on April 3, 1836 — the Passover. Coincidence? I don’t think so,” Ludlow said.

    Guests discussed how the Passover had helped them to understand the restored gospel better. At one point in the evening, Ludlow directed the audience to look out from the Skyroom to see the Provo temple, as he described how much the Jewish community longs for a House of the Lord.

    Sarah Ahlstrom, 20, a sophmore from Idaho Falls, Idaho, majoring in film, said she gained a greater understanding of the Passover because of the on-campus celebration.

    “The Passover helps me to see what I have in relation to the Jewish people, and that is really a part of my heritage too. It made me understand more our own doctrine and the things that have already come to pass,” Ahlstrom said.

    At the conclusion of the program, Ludlow spoke of the remembrance of the many Jews who suffered at the hands of Hitler in concentration camps. There is a monument in Germany with a pair of baby shoes displayed in it, which reads, “1,200,000 children,” in memory of the children that were murdered during the Holocaust, Ludlow said.

    Ludlow has hosted the Passover service on campus for 25 years. Most Passover services end with the phrase, “Next year in Jerusalem,” he said.

    “We’ve had people from Idaho and even California fly in every year to come to BYU’s Passover as part of their annual Easter traditions,” said Patti Smith, assistant to the event and employee of Religious Education.

    There are still tickets available in 271 JSB for April 14 and 15. The event includes a full, catered meal and commentary by Ludlow.

    Tickets are $20 for the public and $15 for current BYU students and faculty. For more information, call the Passover hotline at 378-8325.

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