Spring move-in dates conflict with Passover, some students opt to delay arrival
The Jewish holiday, which started on March 27, came right after the College’s move-in dates of March 25 and 26.
Some students had to delay move in due to conflicts with Passover Seders.
While most students eligible for on-campus housing moved in on Thursday and Friday, some Jewish students chose to delay their arrival on campus to celebrate Passover with their families. Many expressed frustration with the College for scheduling move-in dates that conflicted with the widely-observed Jewish holiday.
Passover is an 8-day celebration that commemorates the exodus of the Jews from slavery in Egypt, and the Passover Seders are a ritual feast held on the first two nights of Passover. The first and second Seders took place on March 27 and 28, respectively, shortly after the College’s scheduled move-in dates of March 25 and 26.
According to Chabad Rabbi Moshe Leib Gray, at least 20 students reached out to the Dean of the College’s office asking permission to delay their arrival on campus.
According to College spokesperson Diana Lawrence, all students who requested delays for Passover were approved to arrive late but are required to live in one of the Choates dormitories for one week upon arrival before moving into their assigned dorm. Lawrence added that these students — who also include those who were approved to arrive late for nonreligious reasons — are following the same testing and quarantine requirements as students who arrived during the scheduled move-in dates.
Chabad vice president Ben Cape ’22 said that he found it “pretty ridiculous” that the College would fail to take Passover into account when planning move-in days.
“This is not the first time they’ve neglected the Jewish religion in their planning,” Cape said.
He cited an instance in 2015 when he said the College pushed the start of fall term classes to accommodate for Rosh Hashanah — but then scheduled two days of make-up classes on Saturdays, the day of rest in the Jewish faith.
Rabbi Gray added that while he had hoped the College would have considered the holiday in determining move-in dates, he was “pleased” that the College was willing to consider student requests.
Passover typically occurs later in the spring, but because the holiday overlapped with the College’s move-in dates and quarantine period this year, Gray said that students faced a dilemma in deciding between celebrating alone in quarantine or moving in late. He added that he would have preferred a delay to the start of term.
“Although this was the first year in my time at Dartmouth where Passover began prior to the start of classes, it would’ve been an unbelievable gesture for the College to delay move in dates [until after the end of Passover],” Gray said.
Gray added that while some students he has spoken with chose to prioritize celebrating Passover at home with their families, others returned to campus during the holiday in order to avoid the “inconvenience” of living in the Choates for a week.
Chabad president Alec Kaplan ’21 said he decided to come to campus during the regular move-in days because he felt that it would not have been possible to have a “normal” Seder with the rest of his family members, who are not vaccinated.
Ari Garnick ’24 said that he chose to come to campus during the regular move-in period because he thought it would be a “real hassle” to move in and follow quarantine requirements while attending classes. He added that he plans on celebrating the Passover Seders with his family over Zoom.
Garnick added that he ultimately decided to come to campus on time because he wanted access to his dorm.
“Doing the Seders over Zoom is going to suck, but I’d rather not have to live out of a suitcase for a week,” Garnick said.