Here’s a basic essentials list of what needs to be done in the 24 hours before Passover in a dorm room. Obviously, there are extras that may ideal if possible, but here are the basics.

CLEAN UP BEST YOU CAN – Dorms and apartments don’t have a lot of space, but you’d be surprised where things can end up. Drawers, cabinets, under the bed, in the closet.

Remember, the Talmud makes it clear: Not your Chametz = not your problem. As un-Passover as it may make you feel, there’s no issue with your roommate having visible Chametz open and visible in the room on Passover. You only have to clean up your Chametz, not his/hers.

CHAMETZ includes: It’s not just bread! Pasta and ramen are Chametz. Cake and cookies, crackers and pretzels. Cereals. Granola Bars. Beer and grain alcohol.

For the 8 days of Passover, we can’t: (1) Eat or drink it in any form, even in the most minute mixtures. (2) We’re not allowed to derive benefit or profit from it. (3) We can’t even own it.

We deal with #3 above in 3 ways:

A) We clean up, get rid of, search and destroy (see more about the last 2 below).

B) We nullify the Chametz and declare it ownerless.

C) We sell sealed off Chametz to a non-Jew (who is not obligated in Passover) – use this form to sell your Chametz.  Chametz to be included in sale should be sealed up in a designated cabinet or box and not used for the duration of Passover.

THE SEARCH on NIGHT BEFORE PASSOVER. After dark on the night before Passover, we do a search for any remaining Chametz. Traditionally this is done by placing 10 wrapped pieces of bread around the house, and the search involved a candle, feather and spoon and a paper bag.

Dorm-wise you can use your phone’s flashlight, and there’s no real need for the 10 pieces. But you do need to search your room for Chametz!

You do it after dark on the night before the Seder (so about 20+ hours before the Seder begins). First make this blessing:

Transliteration: Bo-ruch A-toh Ado-noi E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ho-olom A-sher Ki-de-sha-nu Be-mitz-vo-sov Ve-tzi-vo-nu Al Bee-ur Cho-metz.

Translation: Blessed are You, L-rd our G‑d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us by His commandments, and has commanded us concerning the removal of chametz.

Then search your (part of the) room using your phone’s flashlight. Do a thorough search. When finished, set aside any found Chametz to dispose of or burn, or Chametz to put away and seal up for the sale.

Then say this nullifying declaration: All leaven or anything leavened which is in my possession, which I have neither seen nor removed, and about which I am unaware, shall be considered nullified and ownerless as the dust of the earth.

FIRST BORN SIYUM – Are you a male firstborn? You might want to go with Rabbi Mendel to hear and celebrate a Siyum completion of a Talmud tractate at a Morning Minyan in town. Be at Shabbos House before 8am to head over. Otherwise ((without hearing a Siyum) firstborn males are supposed to fast on the day of (leading to the night of) the Seder.

STOP EATING CHAMETZ – When do we stop eating Chametz? On the morning of the Seder (later that night) the time varies but usually in the 10-ish AM hour. This year in 2024 we have to finish eating Chametz by 10:35am. Check for this year’s times!

BURN CHAMETZ – We make a fire behind Shabbos House and burn remaining Chametz about an hour before noon (check for this year’s times!). In 2024 we have to burn Chametz in Albany before 11:44am. We’ll have fire started around 10:30am.

At the fire we again make a (slightly different) nullification declaration: All leaven or anything leavened which is in my possession, whether I have seen it or not, whether I have observed it or not, whether I have removed it or not, shall be considered nullified and ownerless as the dust of the earth.


We don’t eat Matzah, so as to savor the Mitzvah more when we eat Matzah at the Seder Night.

Some people try not to eat foods that appear on the Seder plate.

Prepare yourself mentally for the Seder. Exodus is a big deal, lets make the most of it!