Passover (Pesach in Hebrew), is a seven-day, springtime festival beginning on the 15th day of Cisan. It commemorates the Jews’ exodus from slavery in Egypt to redemption in the Holy Land of Israel. It begins with a special seder at home where we retell the story of our journey from bondage to liberation using the Haggadah (a book meaning “telling”) and sharing a festive meal featuring many symbolic foods that help tell the story. Throughout the seven days of Passover, we are prohibited from eating chametz (leavened products) as a reminder of our hurried escape from Egypt when there was not even enough time to wait for bread to rise. Instead, we traditionally eat matzah (unleavened bread).
At this time when we celebrate the freedom of our people, we are provided with an opportunity to stand with those who still suffer under the bondage of modern-day slavery. Rabbi Angela Buchdahl speaks eloquently about this in the clip above. In the video below Rabbi Buchdahl and Cantor Julia Cadrain combine the Passover favorite “Dayenu” (“It Would Have Been Enough”) with the spiritual “O Freedom” as a way of connecting the Jewish community with all who have suffered from oppression and bondage. At Central, we celebrate Passover with a festival morning service on the first day and a community seder on the first night. On the seventh day of Passover, we come together again for a festival morning that also includes a yizkor (memorial) service—an opportunity to remember and reflect on the lives of those who have passed away.