The Jewish Students Association hosted their annual Seder in the University Center April 2. The 36th Annual Seder was conducted by Rabbi Stern, an adjunct at St. John’s and the advisor of JSA.
The Seder was initially denied funding by Student Government Inc. at their last meeting due to lack of representation on the part of JSA.
“We were quite shocked when the money was denied because this is a mandatory thing to have,” Kristina Pinkhasova, president of JSA said.
However, the event was held due to a donation from Jerome Belson, who donated $2,500 to the event. JSA had originally asked SGI for $3,000. JSA Members held a bake sale just before the event to raise the remainder of the money. “We are very happy with [Belson’s] donation,” Pinkhasova said. “It really helped us go on with the program.”
Even with the donations and money raised, Pinkhasova also mentioned that they did not have as much to spend as they had in previous years.
Many members of JSA agreed that SGI’s denial of funds was due to a lack of communication between the two groups.
“There was just a lot of misunderstanding between the two groups,” Pinkhasova said. JSA treasurer Musheyev Suren backed her by saying that “[SGI] did the right thing. It all worked out fine in the end.”
There were at least 50 to 60 students present from St. John’s. “Rabbi Stern and Rabbi Perelumeter made the event mandatory for their classes,” Pinkhasova said. Many people from all over the community were also there to support the event. “The people from the community really helped in their cooperation,” Pinkhasova continued. Past presidents of classes 25 to 26 years ago were at the event. “They really enjoyed it and feel it gets better and better each year,” Pinkhasova said.
The Seder is based on a specific order. The main menu of the Seder includes gifiltah fish, matza balls, soup, chicken and different kinds of salads. According to Pinkhasova, there are six circles on the plate that consisted of six different things.
The menu is expensive because there are required items that need to be special ordered,” Inna Lamm said at the last Student Government meeting. “Certain things such as bitter herbs etc.”
The menu itself came to about $1,400 (after taxes).
According to the JSA handbook, “The Seder itself recognizes its own order. This order of the Seder not only gives order to our ritual mean but brings us in order with the world. It aligns us in time and space every spring.”
The order of events in the Seder is symbolic of their past history and tradition.
“I was really surprised at how well everything went,” Pinkhasova said. “Everything [overall] went really well.”