Passover

Passover

Admin
March 18, 2024 / 5 mins read

Passover is an eight-day springtime holiday that celebrates the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and their freedom from slavery. The Israelites were enslaved and persecuted in Egypt, and forced to do manual labor for the Pharaoh. Through Moses, God inflicted 10 plagues on the Egyptians until Pharaoh relented and let the Israelites flee to the desert. As they were leaving, Pharaoh had a change of heart and began pursuing the Israelites, who were trapped by the Red Sea. God split the sea and the Israelites crossed freely to the other side, drowning those who tried to pursue them. The retelling of the exile story and engaging children in the Passover celebration are key aspects of the holiday.

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CUSTOMS

SEDER

On Passover night, many Jews participate in a celebratory seder meal. During the seder, which means “order,” we read from a Haggadah booklet with the holiday rituals described in a specific order. Some key aspects of the seder include drinking four celebratory cups of wine (or grape juice), singing the four questions, eating matzah and the retelling of the exodus story. A designated seder plate is used to hold all the ritual foods – each having a symbolic meaning to help evoke the slavery-to-freedom experience – such as salt water to remind us of the tears of enslaved people and charoset (a blended dip made from apples, grape juice and nuts) that reminds us of the mortar the Israelites used to build bricks in Egypt.

MATZAH AND CHAMETZ

Tradition teaches that when the Israelites fled Egypt they did not have time to let their bread rise. Today, Jews eat a flat cracker-like bread called matzah on Passover. Jewish law states that one must not consume any leavened products (known as chametz) on Passover, and rid their homes of chametz, which includes all breads, cookies, cakes and leavened wheat products.

COUNTING OMER

There are 49 days from Passover until the holiday of Shavuot, where we celebrate the giving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai. To prepare ourselves spiritually for Shavuot, there is a practice of counting off each night, known as counting the omer.

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ACTIVITIES FOR FAMILIES

  • Afikoman hunt During the seder, hide a piece of matzah somewhere in your house and send the kids on a hunt to find it! The afikoman (dessert) is the last thing eaten at the seder.
  • Passover play Have your children dress up as characters from the Passover story and act out the story as a family.
  • Decorate a seder plate Using two clear plastic plates, decorate one plate with colourful markers and stickers, then place another clean, plastic plate on top of it.
  • Matzah pizza Make matzah pizza using a piece of matzah, tomato sauce, cheese and your favorite pizza toppings