For the first time in recent memory, Spring Fling and Passover have coincided this year. Passover is arguably the most celebrated holiday in the Jewish faith. Fling is arguably the most celebrated tradition on the Penn calendar.
Two occasions that may seem incompatible have presented to us both a great challenge and a great opportunity.
Passover is a holiday focused on culture and tradition. Throughout the week, students of all observance levels step into the Hillel building in order to have access to Kosher for Passover food, at a minimum. Jewish students meet each other, celebrate the holiday, and focus on their Judaism each time they dine.
Conversely, Spring Fling is also a time to celebrate Penn’s culture and the spirit of our traditions. Students are united in their cause for celebration: the close of an academic year. It is a weekend during which virtually every community on campus is active, throwing barbecues, hosting philanthropy events or performing onstage.
Jewish students at Penn were concerned that Spring Fling would create a distraction — a weekend that would place students in an untenable position of having to choose between having good times with friends and celebrating their faith. The concern was twofold: one, that students would simply forget Passover, and two, that students would not have access to the appropriate food.
At their core, Passover and Spring Fling are each a time for joint celebration, community and tradition. With the common goal of making Passover not only accessible but present during the weekend, we set about countering the concerns together.
To maintain consciousness of the holiday, Passover-friendly options have been included in Spring Fling advertising and Hillel Week has been planned around this weekend. In so doing, Hillel has worked to link Hillel Week, Passover and Fling in the minds of Jewish students. Together, we have incorporated Kosher for Passover food options into Spring Fling events. One of the main Quad vendors will provide free snacks. Additionally, boxed meals have been made available throughout the weekend.
This year, the culminating event of both Hillel Week and Spring Fling will take place on College Green. In an opportunity for shared celebration (and even more food!), Hillel’s end of Passover Pancake Breakfast will take place at the Spring Fling Carnival.
Our boards have worked together over the past six months to make this collaboration a reality, and we hope that we have been successful in our lofty goals. What at first seemed like a daunting task to unite two seemingly contradicting events provided us with an opportunity to not only meet these challenges, but to overcome them in a way that makes Passover and Spring Fling more enjoyable and meaningful for all.
College junior Alex Jefferson is President of Hillel. College senior Shana Rusonis is President of the Social Planning and Events Committee. Their email addresses are email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org respectively.