Passover in College: The Ultimate Jewish Challenge

Passover is right around the corner. The first Seder is on Monday, April 10th and the second is Tuesday, April 11th. Have you cleared the chametz (non-Kosher for Passover food) out of your pantry yet? If not, you better get on it. Passover is only a week and a half away.

When you’re in college, it can be especially hard to keep kosher for Passover. You may not have easy access to a kitchen if you’re in the dorms and many dining halls usually have very limited kosher for Passover food. Many students choose not to keep kosher because it’s just not a very easy option, whether it be they just don’t know what they can eat or the closest grocery store has minimal kosher for Passover options. Those who do keep kosher do so mostly to keep up with their Jewish traditions that they had grown up with and know for all of their lives.

There are so many things that we have to take out of our diet during passover. Leavened bread, or anything that is made with wheat, barley, oats, spelt, or rye are not kosher for Passover. Many Ashkenazi Jews also avoid rice, corn, soy, millet, beans, peas, and any other legume, or anything that comes from those products, like corn syrup, tofu, or soy oil. Sephardic Jews can eat all the rice or beans that they want. For more information on what you can and cannot eat, check out this great website.

Although it may be a challenge, there are ways you can keep kosher for Passover at school, even if you have long days on campus.

Packing your lunch can be super easy if you remember to do it. There are a bunch of lunches you can make. You can go the simple and easy way by just taking a piece of matzo and putting some butter or cream cheese on it, something I ate for lunch almost every day during Passover when I was growing up. Another great lunch is leftover “matzo pizza.” This way you can create a delicious pizza with your favorite toppings the night before and save some for your lunch the next day. Matzo pizza is also super easy to make — you don’t even need an oven for it, so if you are living in the dorms, you don’t have to worry. All you need is some matzo, red sauce and cheese, and then just pop it in the microwave for about a minute or at least until the cheese is melted. If you want to make some matzo pizza, Hillel will be having a lunch on Thursday, April 13th where you can make your own matzo pizza.

Matzo Pizza

Obviously there are many more recipes you can make for breakfast, lunch or dinner. You can make your favorite sandwiches by just substituting bread for matzo. Make scrambled eggs in the morning, but instead of buttered toast, have some buttered matzo. I know we all get sick of matzo after day two, but remember. It’s only for eight days. Then the other 357 days of the year you don’t even have to think about matzo. While it does get boring, you can try to make things slightly more exciting. Have some chocolate matzo or have matzo with cream cheese and lox. Won’t be the same as a bagel, but it will have to do. Or, if you’re like me and get extremely sick, avoid matzo completely and live off of a low carb diet for a week. It gives you a reason to finally do it.

Whatever you do and whatever you eat, have a happy Passover!