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The meaning of Passover

The traditional seder plate. (flickr.com/redserenade)

The traditional seder plate. (flickr.com/redserenade)

Jacob Saltzman

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For the past fifteen years, since I was old enough to sing the four questions and as far back as I can remember, my family and I have practiced a conservative Passover seder. I have always enjoyed Passover. It is my all time favorite Jewish holiday. I get to be with my family and friends in a nice setting. I have always loved the food on Passover, especially matzah and charoset. My mom makes charoset every year for passover and it is my favorite. She adds dates, nuts, matzo meal and cinnamon.

I have always had a deep and personal connection to the meaning of Passover. When I was about four years old, my older brother told me that we were going to watch a movie called “The Ten Commandments,” directed by Cecil B. DeMill. The film is about  Moses, his relationship to Hashem and his connection with the Jewish people. Ever since watching this almost four hour long movie with my brother, every year on Passover, I think about the struggles the Jews went through. I am grateful to have such an incredible life and amazing family.

Students at the Weber School have similar connections to the holiday. Senior, Jack Tresh stated, “I celebrate Passover with my grandparents in South Florida. We eat matzo ball soup and say the holy prayers. It’s a time where I get to be with my family to reflect and move forward with the struggles of my people.” Another senior, Elye Robinovitz exclaimed, “Passover is meaningful to me because it’s a time to be with my family and also one of the few holidays where it is hard to forget that the holiday is happening since we have to eat kosher for Passover. That is a constant sign of Passover. I also get to remind myself of the suffering that the Jewish people have gone through and how we have always come out on top. Most importantly (in regards to the actual Seder) is when we close with ‘Next Year in Jerusalem.’ It affirms our faith to Am Yisrael Chai and shows our indigenous connection to our homeland.”

Passover tells the story of how the Jews were slaves in Egypt and how Moses came and freed them. The story of Passover is told during the seder. A traditional seder symbolize’s what the Jews were going through as they were escaping Egypt. We eat certain foods, such as Matzah, which is flattened plain bread that was not cooked in time for the Jews to eat as they were leaving Egypt, the bitter herb is present at the seder to show the taste of bitterness that the Jews went through, karpas, also known as parsley is used to represent the flourishing of the Israelites in Egypt, charoset was like the mortar used by the Jewish slaves, the shank bone, which was the sacrifice offered by the Jews as they were departing Egypt and lastly, the egg which stands for a holiday sacrifice once offered at the Holy Temple.

Passover has been an integral part of my life as a Jewish person, and it will continue to be for many years. There are different ways that individual families or people from different Jewish denominations observe Passover. In essence, they are all focused on recognizing when Moses freed the Jews from Egypt. This tradition will be passed down from generations to come.

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