Passover Quick Facts - IL

AKA NamePesach, Feast of Unleavened Bread
HashtagsCompiled on#Passover
Related Hashtags#BringThemHomeNow, #Pesach, #Hamas, #Seder
2024 Date22 April 2024


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Passover History

Passover, known as Pesach in Hebrew, marks the liberation of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage as recounted in the Book of Exodus. In essence, this commemoration stands as a symbol of freedom, serving as a call to reflect upon the significance of liberation, both historical and contemporary. The main aspects of the observance involve the seder meal, the elimination of chametz (leavened foods), and the saying of specific prayers, each element steeped in rich symbolism and traditional meaning.

The origins of Passover trace back to biblical times, when the Israelites were enslaved in Egypt. According to the Exodus story, God inflicted ten plagues upon the Egyptians, the last of which killed their firstborn. However, homes of the Israelites were "passed over", hence the name Passover. In Israel today, this observance connects its people to their history, fostering a deeper understanding of their collective identity, their ancestors' struggles, and the cost of freedom.

In Israel, the observance of Passover begins with an intensive cleaning of homes to rid them of any chametz. This is followed by the traditional Seder meal on the first night, which involves the recitation of the Haggadah, a narration of the Exodus story. Consuming matzah (unleavened bread), symbolising the haste in which the Israelites left Egypt, is also a key practice. In Israel, Passover is observed for seven days, beginning on the 15th day of Nisan in the Jewish calendar, which typically falls in March or April in the Gregorian calendar.

Facts about Start of Passover

  • Traditionally, in accordance with Biblical Law, all Orthodox Jews remove all leaven bread, cakes, and flour-containing or flour-derived products from their homes in the weeks leading up to Passover. These products include beer, whiskey, flour, and all patisserie produces. Any products remaining on the Eve of Passover are given away to non-Jews, sold, or burnt.
  • On Passover, Jews are to eat only unleavened bread (Matzah), baked from flour and water and prepared (mixed and baked) within eighteen minutes. Unleavened bread symbolizes Israelites leaving Egypt in such haste they could not wait for their bread dough to rise.
  • On the first day of Passover it is customary to hold a Seder Night celebration with family and friends. During this celebration, the Haggadah typically read and sang. The Haggadah includes telling the story of fleeing of the Israelite slaves from Egypt, the fact that their dough could not rise due to the hurried exit, blessings over Matzah, and songs of praise and happiness.
  • Primarily celebrated by the Moroccan Jewish community in Israel, Mimouna is a traditional festival that takes place at the end of Passover, marking the return to consuming chametz. Communities often organize large, communal meals and parties.
  • At the center of the table during every Seder meal is the Seder Plate which contains symbolic foods: matzah (unleavened bread), maror (bitter herbs), charoset (a sweet mixture of fruits, nuts, and wine), karpas (green vegetable), Zeroah (shank bone), and Beitzah (hard-boiled egg).

Top things to do in Israel for Start of Passover

  • Attend a Seder dinner or learn how to make your own Seder.
  • Make Matzah. You can watch how to make matzah on youtube.
  • The Western Wall: Also known as The Wailing Wall, this is one of the most significant sites in the world for Jewish people. During Passover, the wall becomes a place where families come to pray and remember their ancestors.
  • Hike the National Parks: Israel's diverse climate and geography make it a great destination for nature-lovers. Ein Gedi, Masada, and the Ramon Crater are particularly popular.

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