At MIT, students, including many Jewish students, have set up tents and a camp outside Kresge Auditorium, declaring they will remain until MIT divest of investments in support of Israel.

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A Gaza Liberation Seder at MIT

Edward Boches | MA, United States

Organization: Boches Photography

MIT Jews for Ceasefire and other pro-Palestinian protesters gather to mark the second night of Passover with a Community Seder at the MIT Scientists Against Genocide Encampment. Students shared Passover rituals, songs, and prayers and joined together in community to understand how Jewish values inform and compel Jewish participation in the fight against both Israel’s genocide and the fight against all forms of oppression.

After the arrest of over 100 student protesters at Columbia University, in mid-April, campuses across America have been disrupted by a wave of pro-Palestinan supporters demanding a cease-fire and calling on their schools to divest from any companies with ties to Israel. The protests have disrupted campus life for many, especially Jewish students, who have expressed both concern and fear over a rapidly spreading tide of anti-semitism. However, at MIT, one of the many colleges whose students have joined in solidarity with their peers at other schools, the protesters are a combination of Palestinian and Jewish students, many of the latter calling for a cease fire and expressing anger over the civilian casualties in Gaza.

MIT students, like students at other Boston area schools, including Emerson and Tufts, have set up tents and a camp in the middle of campus, refusing to leave until their demands for divesting are met.

MIT’s protests coincided with Passover, the Jewish holiday celebrating the Israeilites deliverance from slavery in Egypt. Among the most important concepts in the Passover ceremony is responsibility: because Jews understand what it means to be oppressed, they are responsible for being empathetic and concerned with the rights of others – strangers, the homeless, the impoverished, and at MIT the Palestinians in Gaza.

In that spirit, the coalition of protesting students – Palestinian, Jewish, Black, white – held a Seder – blessings, stories, songs and food – telling the story of the Exodus from Egypt.

Edward Boches is a Boston and Cape Cod - based documentary photographer.

Interested in how photography can connect us, help us understand each other, and inspire empathy, Boches has photographed such diverse communities as inner-city boxers, former gang members, Black Lives Matter activists, transgender men and women, pro-life and pro-choice advocates, shellfishermen, and homeless writers. He makes it a point to meet and photograph at least one stranger every day.

His work has shown in museums and galleries that include the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester; the Bronx Documentary Center in New York City; the Cambridge Association for the Arts; the Plymouth Center for the Arts; the PhotoPlace Gallery in Middlebury, Vermont; the Providence Center for the Photographic Arts; and in Boston at both the Bromfield Gallery (online) and Panopticon Gallery. 

Boches’s work has also been distributed internationally by the Associated Press and has appeared in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, Sun Magazine, Zeke Magazine and the Provincetown Independent, where he is a regular contributor.

In 2021 and 2022, he received multiple grants for public art installations for his community based project Postcards from Allston. The project advocates for small businesses, raises money for local arts initiatives, and calls attention to how gentrification disrupts communities and affects the artists who reside there.

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