Passover

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Passover is a Jewish Holiday that this year falls on April 10th or in the Jewish calendar the 14th of Nisan 5777. In essence it is the story of the exodus of Jewish slaves from Egypt thousands of years ago, and how they achieved freedom.

The story of Passover begins with the Pharaoh of Egypt, Ramses II, ordering that all Jewish boys be drowned in the river Nile. The parent of one Jewish child, however, took her son and put him on a basket to float down the river. The child floated slowly down the river until he was picked out by the princess of Egypt. He was adopted by this princess and raised as a prince of Egypt. This child’s name was Moses. Many years later Moses became disenchanted with the way the Egyptians were treating the Jews and stopped a slave-master from beating one of the Jews. He was banished for his actions and became a Shepard in the Egyptian dessert. While he was shepherding he saw a bush burning but none of the bush was being consumed by the flames, it then spoke to him. The bush ordered him to free the Jews from the oppression of Pharaoh. Moses went to Pharaoh but he refused his request from God to free the Jewish slaves. Moses then told Pharaoh that ten plagues would descend upon Egypt unless the slaves were set free. Pharaoh still refused and ten plagues fell upon the Egyptian people. After the conclusion of the plagues Pharaoh set the Jews free. However he changed his mind after he freed them and attempted to recapture the Jews. The Jews were stuck at the Red Sea with no way to cross, seemingly cornered but then God parted the sea, allowing the Jews to cross and drowning the Egyptian soldiers.

Today, the way Jews celebrate Passover is with a Seder. It is a special meal in which certain foods are eaten with accordance to their meaning to the the different parts of passover. For example, bitter herbs are dipped in salt water to remind Jews today about the hard times of our ancestors. Over the course of the meal different prayers are said with the culmination being the four questions. This is said by the youngest member of the family and asks the question: Why is this night different from all other nights?

My family’s seder is a little more laid back than the traditional Seder. We sing the four questions and keep some semblance of order but most of it is in English. Overall it is a very relaxed setting and provides an opportunity for the family to spend time with one another. We eat brisket made from my great grandmothers recipe, along with chopped up spiced apples called charoset and hard boiled eggs among other things

Passover to me provides an opportunity to see and spend time with my extended family. It is similar to thanksgiving and allows for large get together over a good meal to talk about the past few months as well as making plans for the summer and seeing each other again.