Pesach, known as Passover in English, 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 fifteenth day of Nisan in the Hebrew calendar, Jews gather with family and friends in the evening to read from a book called thehagaddah, meaning "telling," which contains the order of prayers, rituals, readings and songs for the Passover seder. Today, the holiday is a celebration of freedom and family.
Click here to read more about Passover.
At Bet Aviv
At Bet Aviv, we celebrate the second evening of Passover at a community seder led by our clergy. Using A Passover Seder, edited by Herbert Bronstein and beautifully illustrated by Leon Baskin, we come together to retell the story of our freedom. Our Cantor intersperses songs with popular melodies throughout the evening to keep our interest high. We pass a microphone around the room to give everyone a chance to read a paragraph from the Haggadah. We're so proud of our grandchildren as they read the four questions and root for them to find the afikomen quickly.
With a Passover dinner planned by volunteers at a local hotel, we eat a delicious dinner of traditional Passover foods, including matzoh ball soup, chicken, vegetables and fruit and macaroons for dessert. We ask families at each table to bring Passover items, like the seder plate, charoses and matzah, that make each table special. A highlight of the evening is singing Who Knows One? where each table tries to sing loude than the last one.
At the end of the evening we feel a deep satisfaction in having retold the story of our people's freedom, enjoyed the comraderie of our Bet Aviv family and savor the delicious food.