It’s that time of the year when our calendars let us know that Passover is upon us. But for many non-Jewish people in Delaware, you may not know how the religious holiday is celebrated and why it’s so important.
Jonathan Yulish, the executive director of the Congregation Beth Emeth synagogue in Wilmington, shared some insight into this holiday that’s marked by tradition and remembrance by Jewish people around the world.
What is Passover?
The religious holiday is significant because of the story behind it: Passover, or Pesach, is a weeklong festival that commemorates Jewish slaves’ (the Israelites) escape from Ancient Egypt thousands of years ago, Yulish said.
That night during a plague, the Jew’s firstborn children were “passed over” and spared from death — hence, the name of the holiday, “Passover.”
When is Passover?
It normally begins on the fifteenth day of Nisan (on the Hebrew calendar), in the early spring. This year, Yulish said, Passover begins at sundown on April 5 and ends on April 13.
How is Passover celebrated?
Yulish said the main way is through Seder, a special dinner to recount the story of the Israelite’s exodus to freedom. The meal usually takes place on the first two nights and the last two nights, he said.
“It’s very family-centric and this holiday is more of a ‘home’ holiday,” Yulish said.” People are mostly in their home celebrating with family and friends.”
Passover is also celebrated by explaining the history of Israel to children, he added.
What is the most important food during Passover?
The most important food during Passover is “matzah” or unleavened bread, Yulish said.
“The story goes that when the Jews went to leave Egypt they didn’t have time to wait for the bread to rise, so they took it as it was and the matzah symbolizes the unleavened bread,” he said.
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Contact local reporter Cameron Goodnight at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling or texting 302-324-2208. Follow him on Twitter at @CamGoodnight.