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What is Passover?

Passover Seder- Rknopp311-Flickr

For those who observe the Jewish faith, Passover begins tonight at sundown. 

Passover, or Pesach in Hebrew, is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the exodus of the Jews from slavery in ancient Egypt. According to the Old Testament, when Moses commanded Pharaoh to, “Let my people go,” Moses told the Jewish people to grab their things and leave.

During the Exodus from Egypt of 40 days and 40 nights, Moses and the Jewish people reached the Red Sea. Moses took his staff, stuck it in the water and parted the sea, allowing them to walk through. As Pharaoh and the Egyptian army approached, the water returned. Pharaoh and his men drowned and the Jewish people were never slaves of Pharaoh again.

Passover is the first of the Three Pilgrimage Festivals of Judaism, which also include Shavuot and Sukkot.  It begins after dusk on the 14th of the Hebrew month of Nisan and lasts for eight days.

The holiday kicks off with a Passover Seder, a ritual feast featuring symbolic foods arranged on a traditional Passover Seder plate and the drinking of four cups of wine to represent the four expressions of deliverance promised by God.

Matzo, an unleavened flatbread, is eaten at the Seder and throughout Passover, since the Torah commands that leavened bread is forbidden during this time.

Other traditional Passover dishes include kugel and gefilte fish.

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