BYU to host Seder dinner for Passover

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The public can join BYU students and faculty in celebrating Passover this March and April. The Department of Religious Education will host several Seder Services dinners, an educational evening and catered meal featuring the ritual foods of the Passover.

Jeffrey Chadwick
Guests eat a traditional Seder dinner in 2014. The BYU Seder Service is a long-standing tradition of celebrating Passover by learning more about Jewish history and culture. (Jeffrey Chadwick)

Professor of religious education Jeffrey Chadwick will host the ceremonial Seder dinner, which is traditionally held at the beginning of the week-long festival, using unleavened bread and bitter herbs to symbolize elements of ancient Israelite history.

“It’s a cultural event to enhance the knowledge of BYU students and the general public about the Jewish festival of Passover,” Chadwick said. “The Passover Seder essentially consists of two things: eating a meal that is a festival and a remembrance, and the telling of the story of the exodus.”

Passover commemorates the flight of the children of Israel from Egypt. Chadwick said Latter-day Saints should know about Passover because of their spiritual connection with Israel. He also said the Passover plays a significant role in the events of the Atonement, since the Last Supper was a Seder.

Jeffrey Chadwick
The Seder is a ceremonial meal eaten at the beginning of the Passover. BYU hosts one of the largest Passover events in the western United States each year. (Jeffrey Chadwick)

“This is an opportunity to step outside your own religious practice and discover something of someone else, particularly because Passover plays such a big role in the Bible and in the life of Jesus.” Chadwick said.

BYU’s Sedar has been a major hit over the years, dating back to the 1970s. Chadwick said about 250 people normally attend each session of the event.

This year’s Passover begins April 22 and concludes April 30, but BYU will celebrate with sessions of the Seder Service on March 11, 18, 25 and April 8. Tickets are available by calling 801-422-3611 or visiting room 271 of the Joseph Smith Building. Members of the public pay $30 per seat, but student and faculty tickets are available at a discounted price of $20.

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