Students and faculty gathered for the Sedar dinner to celebrate the Passover on Friday, March 11. Religious education professor Jeffrey Chadwick directed the event with commentary throughout the night.
The dinner consists of three main parts: the matza, unleavened bread, the Sedar Plate, ceremonial foods including roasted lamb, and the Four cups of wine.
The word “Passover” is the English word used to describe the Hebrew, Jewish feast known as Pessach, according to Chadwick.
“Pessach represents what the angel of death passing over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt in the night of the first Passover,” Chadwick said.
Chadwick explained the meaning of the Passover and recollected the history of it and how it began. He also said the Passover can be read about in the books of Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy in the Old Testament.
Several students taking religious classes attended the event, while others returned after attending the Passover in previous years.
Josinah Gachia, a BYU senior majoring in public health, attended the event for the second time.
“I liked the experience the first time and decided to come again,” Gachia said. “I felt really cultured and specifically learned a lot about the Jewish culture.”
She said it’s a different perspective of celebrating Easter from what Latter-day Saints are used to.
“As Latter-day Saints we need to be open about other people’s religion and customs because it helps us understand different people’s perspectives outside our own,” Gachia said.
Samantha McCoard, a junior studying genetics and biotech, attended the dinner for the first time to educate herself on Jewish traditions. McCoard heard about the event from her Writings of Isaiah class at BYU.
“I think coming to learn about the Passover is a way we can share the gospel and educate ourselves more about where we come from,” McCoard said.
Chadwick explained the Jews have never lost their religious identity throughout history, although most of the world is not aware of it.
“Mormons know it because it is a part of our LDS teachings,” Chadwick said. “The LDS understanding of their Israelite heritage is a restored understanding whereas the Jewish understanding is a remembered one.”
He explained that in the terms of LDS Israel lineage, “this is as much a part of your heritage as it is the heritage for the Jews.”