Due to the current circumstances with COVID-19, celebrations may look different this year as people adapt their traditional food and gatherings so they can observe these important holidays while physical distancing.
To help increase awareness of religious diversity, the Wellness and Inclusion Team at my department has a "Did you know?" series. This series features information on various religious and secular celebrations throughout the year.
Passover (April 8 to 16, 2020)
Did you know?
Some of our colleagues will soon be celebrating Passover.
· Passover (Pesach) is a Jewish festival celebrated over eight days (seven days in Israel) each spring. It commemorates the end of the many years of slavery the Israelites (Jewish people) suffered at the hand of the Egyptians.
· Pharaoh feared the Israelites, who lived in Egypt, and forced them into slavery, killing their newborn sons to reduce their population.
· Moses, a servant of God, told Pharaoh to let the Israelites go so they could serve God. At Pharaoh's refusal, God performed miracles and sent warnings and signs that included nine plagues that affected the Egyptians' health and destroyed their crops and livestock.
· Before sending the tenth plague, God, through Moses, instructed each Israelite family to kill a lamb and spread its blood around the door frames of their homes as a symbol of belonging to and trusting in God. When the Angel of Death came, it passed over these homes, killing the first-born sons of the Egyptians. Following this plague, Pharaoh finally let the Israelites go.
· It is said that they left in such a hurry that they could not wait for bread dough to rise (leaven). In commemoration, it is a tradition to destroy any trace of leavened goods in the home and to eat matzah (unleavened bread) during Passover.
· During the first two nights of Passover, Jews gather with family and friends to light candles, recite Passover blessings, retell the story of the Exodus and enjoy a Seder meal. The meal includes the same food that was eaten on the eve of the tenth plague (lamb, matzah and bitter herbs) as well as wine to celebrate their freedom.
To all who celebrate, we wish you chag kasher v'same'ach - a happy and kosher holiday!
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