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Pesah (Passover)

The Celebration of Freedom

Passover commemorates the deliverance of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt as told in the Book of Exodus. To celebrate Passover we gather with family and friends for the Passover Seder. During the Seder (“order” in Hebrew) we feast with foods to symbolize the plight of the Israelites in Egypt, retelling and reliving the exodus story.
The celebration of Passover largely centers around the traditional dinner known as a Seder. Friends and family gather to feast with foods to symbolize the rich history of the Israelite’s exodus from Egypt. A lovely table is set with the finest china and silverware and a white tablecloth. It is a beautiful tradition that is often the highlight of the year for many households. The Passover Seder should begin after sundown and often goes late into the night.

The Seder can take many forms… from an intimate dinner with the immediate family to a huge dinner with extended family and friends to a public Seder with hundreds! No matter which type of Seder you attend, the Passover Seder is a time to connect with family, friends, fellow congregation members, and most of all, our roots and faith. It was a special time in history and continues to be a special time of the year.

A book called The Haggadah tells the story of the Exodus and how to conduct the Passover Seder. It is our guide through the foods, wine and blessings that happen during the Seder. The centerpiece of the Seder table is the Seder Plate. The Seder Plate contains certain symbolic foods that will be eaten during the course of the Seder. Other items that you will use during the Passover Seder include a Matza Tash and Kiddush Cup or Cup of Elijah. 
As we work through the Hagaddah during the Seder, every person should see himself as if he were going out of Egypt. We recount the Israelites descent into Egypt and recall their suffering and persecution. We are with them as G-d sends the Ten Plagues to punish Pharaoh and his nation, and follow along as they leave Egypt with Moses as their guide. We witness the miraculous hand of G-d as the waters part to allow the Israelites to pass, then return to inundate the Egyptian legions.

Once the Seder has concluded we are with full bellies and full spirit. We are left with the amazing feeling of being part of something much bigger than ourselves and feel the Almighty walking with us. Then time comes to part ways with loved ones who shared in this beautiful experience, but not before saying “L’shannah haba’ah be’yarusalim” Next Year in Jerusalem.

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