Today marks the seventh day of Passover. Today also marks the seventh day of avoiding bread and wheat-products like the plague. As a high school senior, I often wondered how I would continue observing Jewish holidays while at USC, and the holiday of Passover presents the perfect challenge. Would the dining halls have matzah? Would I go hungry for a week?
Luckily, I was not alone. Recognizing the need for kosher-style food options, USC made its Jewish students feel welcome during the Passover holiday. In the dining halls, I always grab a slice of matzah (or two, or three) and get to work on making myself a meal. For breakfast, I normally spread peanut butter on the matzah, grab a banana, and drink a glass of milk. For lunch and dinner, I use sandwich meats to make a matzah and turkey sandwich. Sometimes, when I am feeling extravagant, I ask the chefs at Parkside or EVK dining halls to put a burger or meatballs on a slice of matzah. And when I am not in the mood for matzah, the dining halls always have food options without bread. Whether it is beef on a bed of rice, stir-fry, or a chicken dish, there is always something for me. So, while the dining hall experience changes during Passover, I definitely do not go hungry.
Outside of the dining halls, Hillel and Chabad, two Jewish organizations on campus, have provided create food options during the week. On the first night of Passover, I attended Hillel’s Passover Seder and enjoyed ushering in the other holiday with several of my closest friends (and great Kosher food). On other days, I visited Hillel to make matzah pizza or to grab a quick bowl of matzah ball soup.
USC prides itself on diversity. In my opinion, my Passover experience shows that this talk of diversity is not just lip service. USC actually does care about the needs of its diverse student body, and I love being a part of a community that embraces these unique differences. Most importantly to me, USC makes Passover in college in not much different than Passover back home in Connecticut, and, for that, I am thankful.