As Passover approaches this year, there’s a buzz of excitement in the air at Washington University in St. Louis. For the first time ever, Rabbi Shlomo and Kyra Ashkanazy, the JLIC directors, are opening their home to host Passover celebrations for the students. It’s not just any Passover – it’s the inaugural year for JLIC at WashU, and Kyra is taking on the challenge of preparing the seder and many of the other meals herself to create a true home away from home for the students. Students will not only partake in the delicious meals but also contribute to their creation. Throughout the week, they’ll join Kyra in the kitchen, chopping, stirring, and preparing, which not only assists in the workload but also empowers the students to take an active role in shaping their community and contributing to its warmth and vibrancy.

Imagine walking into a warm, welcoming home, the aroma of traditional Passover dishes wafting through the air. That’s the atmosphere Rabbi Shlomo and Kyra are cultivating for over 50 students who will be attending both seders at their home. With finals looming, more students than usual are staying on campus this year, and JLIC is their on-campus family, providing comfort and community during the holiday season.

But the celebrations don’t stop at the seders. Throughout the week, Rabbi Shlomo and Kyra are hosting Friday night dinners and Shabbat afternoon meals, creating opportunities for students to come together, share stories, and form lasting friendships. And on the last day of Passover, they’re pulling out all the stops with a BBQ for over 70 people, turning their backyard into a festive gathering space.

Passover isn’t just about food and festivities; it’s also a time for learning and reflection. On Thursday night, the community will come together to celebrate the completion of mishnayos Pesachim with a siyum and a large learning event, deepening their understanding of the holiday’s significance and traditions.

In addition to the festivities planned, Rabbi Shlomo is taking proactive steps to ensure that students are fully prepared for Passover. This week, he’s hosting two pre-Pesach shiurim, offering practical guidance on how to kasher their own small kitchens and properly prepare for the holiday. From understanding the intricacies of chametz to navigating the complexities of koshering utensils, Rabbi Shlomo’s insights are invaluable for students eager to observe Passover with diligence and authenticity. Furthermore, he’s facilitating the process for students to sell their chametz, ensuring that everyone can fulfill the mitzvot of Passover with peace of mind. With Rabbi Shlomo’s guidance and support, students are empowered to embrace the holiday with confidence and reverence.

None of this would be possible without the generous support of two families who have stepped up to offset some of the costs of the Passover programming and food. Their contributions ensure that every student can experience the warmth and joy of Passover, regardless of financial constraints. Additional supporters are encouraged, appreciated, and welcomed to join in creating a memorable and meaningful holiday experience for the WashU community.

As the first year of JLIC at WashU unfolds, Rabbi Shlomo and Kyra Ashkanazy are setting the bar high for what it means to be a home away from home. Their dedication, generosity, and unwavering commitment to fostering a vibrant Jewish community on campus are truly commendable. Through their efforts, Passover at WashU isn’t just a holiday – it’s a transformative experience that brings students together, strengthens their connections to their heritage, and leaves a lasting impact for years to come.

Reach out to any of our Directors to learn more about JLIC and our programming.

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