Passover (Pesach in Hebrew), is a major Jewish spring festival, commemorating the Exodus from Egypt over 3,000 years ago.
The ritual observance of this holiday centers around a special home service called the seder (meaning "order") and a festive meal; the prohibition of chametz (leaven); and the eating of matzah (an unleavened bread). On the eve of the fifteenth day of Nisan in the Hebrew calendar, we read from a book called the hagaddah, meaning "telling," which contains the order of prayers, rituals, readings and songs for the Passover Seder. The Passover Seder is the only ritual meal in the Jewish calendar year for which such an order is prescribed, hence its name.
The Torah describes the meal of lamb, unleavened bread, and bitter herbs which the Israelites ate just prior to the Exodus. In addition, it enunciates the duty of the parents to tell the story of the Exodus to their children. The seder plate contains various symbolic foods referred to in the seder itself.
The Passover Seder reminds us of our ancestor's journey down into Egypt, our enslavement there and our eventual flight to freedom. In Jewish tradition, because of the centrality of this story, we are not simply to remember these events but to recount them as if we ourselves had experienced them.
Above content provided by the URJ. Read more about the history and customs of Passover.
PASSOVER AT CONGREGATION EMETH