Holiday – Jewish


“Passover is basically the celebration of the Jews not being slaves anymore in Egypt. The pharaoh in Egypt was in charge of the slaves building the pyramids. Eventually, Moses is able to free the Jews from the pharaoh’s tyranny through the help from God. This is where the burning bush comes in as a symbol of God. Basically, ten plagues afflict the Pharaoh and the rest of the Egyptians. The last one is most important being the death of the firstborn son. Eventually, this convinces the pharaoh to let the Jews go. So the Jews begin their exits from Egypt. In the middle of getting away, the pharaoh decides to revoke their freedom because he still wants them to be his slaves. So, the Jews did not have the time to let the bread rise that they were cooking for their journey. So, they had to eat matza, which is bread that has not risen. This is why during Passover, for eight days, the Jews keep kosher by not eating anything with flower. If you’re Ashkenazi, you can’t eat rice or corn or anything like that. But if you’re Sephardic, you can have rice. But, all Jews cannot have flour. That’s why they eat matza. So, the pharaoh chased the Jews until God allowed Moses to part the Red Sea and escape. Jewish people celebrate all this by having a Passover satyr once a year, where you have four cups of wine throughout the meal and different types of food. There is a prayer that goes along with the satyr and you’re supposed to leave the door open for Elijah, a prophet, and also have a glass of wine left out for him. Also, you’re supposed to leave your door open so that anyone can come celebrate Passover with you.”

Matt said he learned the stories and traditions of Passover whenever he was a child. Passover is a Jewish holiday so his family has celebrated it every year since he was born. Plus, he went to a Hebrew school until he was in eighth grade so the story of the pharaoh was talked about every year in school. He said that all Jews celebrate the holiday as it lasts for eight days. When I asked him when Passover took place, he said that it varies from year to year because Jewish people follow the lunar calendar. This year, Passover began on April 20th and lasted until the 28th.

Matt said that Passover is a good time for the Jewish religion to remember their history and the struggles their ancestors went through. To honor them, they eat only kosher items throughout the eight days to respect the journey of Moses and the Jewish slaves. This means that they do not eat bread or rice but only matza. This discipline helps remind them that life was never easy for the Jewish religion, as they endured countless struggles to be where they are at today. Matt is proud of his ancestors and shows it by eating only kosher.

Passover to Matt means a dinner with family and an Atkins-like diet for a week. When I asked him about the importance of the holiday, he responded by talking about how the Jewish religion has gone through countless struggles in order to survive. From the slavery in Egypt to the Holocaust, the Jewish people have survived and prospered. Passover is a time for Matt to connect with and feel proud of his religion. Although he made the joke saying that it is a time for him to go on a diet, he really understands the importance of his religion’s history.

As a Christian, I do not understand that much about the Jewish religion because I grew up in a dominant Christian area. However, I agree that Passover is an important holiday for the Jewish religion with many traditions that cannot go unnoticed. For example, there are some variations to this holiday as different types of Jews eat different types of Kosher, as Matt mentioned. This means that different Jews celebrate Passover in different ways, following traditions that their separate ancestors laid out before them. Furthermore, Passover is meant to be a time for the Jewish religion to remember their struggles by going through a struggle themselves, which in this case, is a kosher diet. Although this is not a serious struggle like the Jews faced in history, it does show that Jewish people have discipline and honor.