With Passover and Easter coinciding this year, many Carls had a reason to celebrate over the past weekend, as they took time to be more involved in both the Carleton and Northfield religious communities.
The Chapel offered an Easter service on Sunday, followed by an Easter breakfast and an egg hunt. The Carleton Passover Seder, led by rabbi Shosh Dworsky, took place in the Great Hall on Friday night, followed by a student-led Seder on Saturday night.
Though the traditions for these holidays don’t vary too much across the country, celebrating them at Carleton can be a very different experience in its own right.
“Passover is really different because its big here,” said Matt Weinstein ’14. “It’s very different from an intimate family gathering that you would have at home.”
As a Chaplain’s associate for Jewish life, Weinstein has been very involved in the Carleton Jewish community, and he helped plan and lead the Saturday Seder.
“For the High Holidays, it’s a lot smaller here. At home my congregation has maybe a thousand people, while Carleton has maybe a hundred,” he said.
Said Naeh Klages-Mudt ’14, “I’ve always celebrated Passover with the comfort of my family and our own Seder traditions, but I feel that observing Passover here at Carleton brings upon me a sense of refreshment.
“Being at Carleton provides an opportunity to discuss and interact with a large and diverse group of Jews who share a similar culture to that of my own. I feel there’s something special and unique about that.”
Those celebrating Easter echoed some of the same sentiments as Weinstein and Klages-Mundt, highlighting the lack of family traditions but subsequent growth of community.
“I like it better in some ways and worse in others,” said Meg Holladay ’14. “ It’s nice at home to be with my family because I’m with people all the time for whom Easter has the same meaning. But here is nice too. Since I don’t have the small group of my family to be with, I feel like I become a closer part of the larger community of my church.”
Though being at college makes it difficult to participate in classic Easter traditions, like Easter egg hunts or candy exchanges, the distance from such commercial exploits helps students focus on the spiritual meaning of the holiday.
“I was raised Presbyterian, but there isn’t a Presbyterian church in Northfield, so I went to the UCC with some friends. It was interesting because it offers more of a community feel,” said Maria Sterrett ’14.
“[At home] I would always get together with my family and other families we met through church and in that sense there’s a lacking feeling. But it’s also about learning to find a new community, not just replicating the community you have at home.”