Hillel, UA students prepare for Passover

By Staff and Wire reports
Arizona Daily Wildcat
April 3, 1996

Israelis cleaned house, immersed pots in boiling water and crowded car washes to clean bread crumbs from between their car seats yesterday in preparation for the weeklong Jewish Passover holiday.

The holiday, which begins at sundown today, commemorates the exodus of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt.

Israelis were busy shopping today for the Passover meal, or Seder, which is held tonight.

Certain University of Arizona students, though not exempt from classes, will also be celebrating Seder. Seder is a ceremonial meal composed of certain rituals like reading the Haggada, a short book detailing the exodus, and consuming certain representativ e foods, like unleavened bread and bitter herbs.

Hillel Foundation estimates about 10 percent of the UA campus population is Jewish, said Hillel's program director, Michelle Rubin.

For the holiday, Hillel placed about 50 students who are away from home with local families performing Seder, so they could participate in the service, Rubin said.

Throughout the week, the Oyvey Cafe at Hillel will be offering kosher lunches and dinners for about $4 to $7, Rubin said.

During Passover, Jews traditionally avoid yeast products, including bread and beer, and legumes, to commemorate the hasty departure of the Israelites who had no time to bake for the trip.

Israeli supermarkets extended business hours and offered special sales of non-kosher goods to clear the shelves. Sales of cleaning goods were up as most Israelis swept and dusted to clear their homes of all bread products.

Last night, the stores draped all bread items with paper, labeling them ''hametz.'' Boxes of matzoh, a type of unleavened cracker, replaced cakes and cookies.

In Jerusalem's ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Mea Shearim, huge vats with boiling water were set up on the sidewalks to purify kitchenware. Customers paid to get their metal pots and pans dipped in the boiling water by men wearing rubber gloves.

Long lines also formed at car washes as people waited to clear out bread crumbs from between seats.