Observing Passover in Montgomery County

Sunset marks the first night of Passover, a holiday to commemorate the exodus of the Jews from Egyptian slavery.

Passover begins the evening of April 14 and ends on April 22.

Photo | April Killingsworth

Photo | April Killingsworth

“Jews celebrate the holiday by telling the story around a dinner table with a special book called the Haggadah,” said Rabbi Jonah Layman of the Shaare Tefila Congregation in Olney.

The haggadah, which is Hebrew for “telling,” contains prayers, songs and the story which highlights elements of the event from 3,000 years ago.

Jewish congregations often participate in a Seder during Passover, an interactive event meant to incorporate children in the service and meant to engage participants in the meaning and significance of the holiday.

“Families come together on the first nights of Passover to tell the story of the Exodus, to pass on its message to the young ones, to eat special foods that remind of our slavery and of our freedom, and our hopes for the future,” said Rabbi Sholom Raichik of the Chabad Lubavitch of Upper Montgomery County.

During Seder, and throughout Passover, certain foods are avoided to observe the holiday. Traditionally people refrain from eating bread or anything that is made from wheat flour for the eight days of the holiday.

“Symbolic food is incorporated into this Seder such as matzah, the flat, unleavened bread, horseradish, parsley or other green vegetables to highlight spring time, and salt water in which to dip the parsley to remind us of the tears of the Jewish slaves,” said Rabbi Layman.

Today more than 80 percent  of people who identify as Jews have some kind of Seder, according to Rabbi Layman’s congregation.

To find a Seder or other gatherings for Passover this year, visit the Chabad holiday directory here.

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Valerie Bonk

About Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk is a multimedia reporter and community engagement specialist with Montgomery Community Media (MCM).


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