Jessai Flores

This April, I’ve been clearing my search history more than usual. Not for the reason one might normally press delete — get your mind out of the gutter — but because it is riddled with “is ___ kosher for Passover?” Every year I try and fail to keep kosher for Passover, but maybe this year will be different. 

Luckily, I have no problem getting rid of my non-kosher snacks — my suitemates will no doubt be up to the task of finishing them — so I can cross in-room temptations off the list of potential complications. But, besides my suitemates picking up the slack, I have no idea what to expect for my firstPassover at Yale. 

I have gotten so used to celebrating Pesach at my grandma’s house, where my cousin, my two sisters and I play the parts of the four children. If you were wondering, I am always the wise child, obviously, and can practically recite the part by heart. My older sister is the wicked child — how fitting — and my younger sister and cousin divy up the remaining parts. 

Being a freshman in college has, of course, come with a lot of firsts. But my first Passover away from home is not something I have thought about until recently. Is there a certain etiquette to follow at a Slifka seder? Are we limited to one serving of charoset per person? If so, we might have a problem. Will there be an afikomen? Fair warning, I get pretty competitive. 

Passover is a timeless narrative of liberation; a commemoration of the Jews’ exodus from slavery in Egypt. For me, the seven-day holiday is marked by traditions that bind family and history together. Passover reaffirms my connection to my roots, reminding me of the struggles and triumphs of those who came before me. It’s about the laughter and debates around the dinner table, the shared meals, and, most importantly, a sense of belonging.

This year, as I prepare to celebrate Passover at Yale with peers instead of family, my excitement mingles with a sense of nostalgia. The setting may be different, and the faces less familiar, but the spirit of Passover remains the same. Opening myself up to the possibility of making new traditions is what college is all about. I imagine each person will bring a piece of their home to share, bridging the gap between the familiar past and the uncharted future. As I sit at the Seder table with my peers, I’ll carry the essence of my family’s traditions with me, ready to add new layers to my Passover story.