Celebrating Freeman18 with...Dylan Posner, T'19


Tell us about yourself, Dylan:
I’m a sophomore from New York City majoring in Political Science and minoring in Economics Thumbnail
Why did you choose Duke? 
I chose Duke because I felt that the campus had the perfect combination of strong school spirit driven by athletics and a passion and commitment to academics. I also felt that Duke best enabled me to grow in ways that I hadn’t experienced before.
Outside of the classroom, what are you involved in on campus?
I am co-chair of Last Day of Classes (LDOC) Committee. As co-chair, I am trying to strengthen LDOC's reputation as a day of celebration for all students through inclusive programming that focuses on what it means to be part of the Duke community. My participation in Duke University Union programming has introduced me to so many students with diverse interests and rounds out my experience. I'm also a member of Delta Tau Delta, TAMID, and Untitled Identity. 
Why did you decide to host your own Seder? What did it entail?
At home, Passover is always a special time and I really enjoy having Seders with my family. I was eager to commemorate the holiday with my friends here at Duke, all of whom come from different backgrounds. To recreate that familial experience, I hosted a Seder for Delta Tau Delta and other friends. I loved getting to share parts of the Seder that my family emphasizes every year -- it made me feel like I was celebrating at home. We went around the table and read the Haggadah, with every person reading a paragraph. When everyone had an opportunity to participate, I summarized the remaining parts of theMagid (telling the Passover story) section. I really enjoyed explaining the items of the Seder Plate as we fulfilled the Matzah, Marror and Korech commandments. After everyone got food and started eating, we explained the Chad Gad Ya song and some sang parts of Echad Mi Yodea. Closing the Seder by singing those traditional songs with friends helped make the entire Seder feel meaningful, fun and homey. 
What advice do you have for students considering hosting their own Seder?

I think it’s important to try and find a few "highlights" that they can remember from their Seder at home and explain to your Seder attendees what makes it special to you. A lot of my friends appreciated when I shared family connections during the Seder.
What is your fondest JLD memory?
I loved participating in planning the "Untitled Identity" program, where we brought several Jewish members of the entertainment industry (actors, production studio heads, talent agents, and casting agents) to discuss portraying different identities and maintaining their Jewish identity in in Hollywood.
How has being at Duke shaped your Judaism?
I transitioned from Jewish day school to Duke, and it has been a very interesting experience for my Jewish identity. By the end of high school, I was significantly more committed to upholding and maintaining the values of Judaism rather than its specific laws. Duke has crystallized how I interact with Judaism in my daily life and has reaffirmed my commitment to support activities that promote positive perceptions of Israel and Judaism on campus. I think this is best embodied through my involvement in planning Hollywood@Duke's first event. In planning for this event, we wanted to publicize the tensions of identifying as Jewish. As the hub of the entertainment industry, Hollywood has the power to shape, shift and transform international perceptions and acceptance of race, gender, religion, and culture. After spending a day meeting and talking with influential players in the Hollywood industry, I learned portraying one's identity remains a difficult balance, extending well into adulthood. I am excited to continue working with Hollywood@Duke to further the conversations about identity with different social, racial, gender and religious groups.