This weekend was the first time in 33 years that Passover, the Ramadan and the Christian holiday of Easter fell on the same date. Students at Johns Hopkins University decided to to create an interfaith Jewish-Christian event, after they saw similarities in the two holidays.
Johns Hopkins SAIS’s Student Government Association (SGA) organized an Easter Egg and Afikoman Hunt on Monday on the Washington DC campuses. The initiative, intending to be an informal interfaith activity, exposed hundreds of MA and PhD students to the Christian Easter traditions and the Jewish Passover traditions. For many, it was their first encounter with those rituals.
Shay Avshalom Zavdi, an Israeli MA student in International Public Policy at SAIS told The Jerusalem Post that “When I heard about the idea to organize an Easter Egg Hunt, my first reaction was to ask what it was." Zavdi said that "As an Israeli Jew, I knew about this from TV and movies, but never encountered that in person."
He couldn't help but think that the Easter Egg hunt was so similar to the search for the Afikoman, a piece of matzah that is eaten during the Passover seder.
There is a custom of hiding the afikoman so that the children 'steal' it and receive a present in return.
"When I heard how similar it was to Afikoman, I proposed to combine the two," Zavdi said, "The SGA (Student Government Association) was happy to endorse this interfaith activity, promoting tolerance and understanding between the diverse communities on campus.”