Pesach (Passover)

Passover (Pesach in Hebrew) is a major Jewish spring festival celebrating freedom as we remember the Exodus from Egypt more than 3,000 years ago. The main observances of this holiday center around a special home service called the seder, which includes a festive meal, the prohibition on eating chametz (Chametz includes grains like wheat, oats, rye, barley and spelt, which are prohibited if they’ve had contact with water/moisture for longer than 18 minutes, leading to rising or “leavening.”), and the eating of matzah (thin, crisp unleavened bread).

On the 15th day of Nisan in the Hebrew calendar, Jews gather with family and friends in the evening to read from a book called the Haggadah, meaning “telling,” which contains the order of prayers, rituals, readings, and songs for the Passover seder. The Haggadah helps us retell the events of the Exodus, so that each generation may learn and remember this story that is so central to Jewish life and history.

Passover is celebrated for either seven or eight days, depending on family and communal custom. In Israel and for most Reform Jews around the world, Passover is seven days, but for many other Jews, it is eight days.

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