Friday, April 29, 2016

The Passover seder plate features several foods that each have their own symbolization. Passover this year is celebrated from April 14 to April 22, 2014. (Rebecca Siegel/Flickr)
Passover: 5 things you should know
Posted on April 14, 2014 at 5:43 p.m.

1. What is Passover?

Passover is the celebration of the night the Israelite slaves in Egypt, led by Moses through the Red Sea, escaped slavery in Egypt and found freedom in Israel.

"This is when we began as a a Jewish people," Rabbi Kuppel Lindow of the Midwest Torah Center said. 

2. When is Passover celebrated?

Passover always falls on the fifteenth day of the month Nisan, Lindow said in a phone interview Monday, April 14. The Jewish people follow the lunar calendar and every new month begins on the night of a new moon. Passover lasts for seven days. This year, it begins at sundown Monday, April 14, and ends at sundown on Tuesday, April 22.

3. How is Passover celebrated?

Preparations for Passover begin weeks before as Jews begin an intense spring cleaning of their homes, Tablet magazine said. The goal is to cleanse the home of all grain foods that have been fermented or can cause fermentation and make the house kosher for Passover.

Jews do not work on certain days of Passover, and they spend the entire week not eating any leavened breads or products.

"We eat matzo, which is like a cracker that's cooked very quickly," Lindow said. Matzo symbolizes how quickly the Israelites left Egypt – so fast they didn't have time for the bread to rise – and serves as a reminder of humility.

The first night of Passover includes a seder (more on that later) and the recitation of the Four Questions, Tablet said. Children ask the questions to encourage a discussion of the meal's symbolism, including why eating matzo is important, and children searching for a hidden piece of matzo to mark the end of the eating portion of seder.

4. What is seder?

Seder is a celebration of Passover with food that symbolizes important aspects of the exodus from Egypt. Foods include a shank bone that symbolizes a sacrificed Passover lamb, bitter herbs that symbolize the hardship of slavery, root vegetables dipped in salt water twice that symbolize spring and the tears of the Israelites, a sweet paste made of fruits and nuts that symbolizes the mortar the Israelites used to build homes upon in Egypt and matzo.

5. What are some Passover recipes I can try?