Passover, most beloved Jewish holiday, explained
Passover is the most celebrated of all Jewish holidays with more than 70% of Jewish Americans taking part in a seder, its ritual meal.
Here’s your guide to the basics of the holiday, which begins at sundown Friday — plus some lesser-known facts that explain why this celebration of liberation lies at the center of Jewish belief and tradition.
Q: Passover. In three sentences. Go.
A: The biblical
Book of Exodus tells how the Israelites were slaves in Egypt. God parted the Red Sea and the prophet Moses led them to freedom. They wandered through the desert to the Holy Land, and along the way God gave them Jewish law.
Q: Explain the holiday one more time — with feeling.
A: “It is the master story of the Jewish people going from degradation to redemption, and it mirrors our own personal journeys,” said Rabbi Rick Jacobs, head of the Union for Reform Judaism, the largest stream of Judaism in North America.
“When we ask people, ‘What is the most important part of your Jewish identity?,'” Jacobs continued, “the dominant answer is, ‘Standing up for equality, pursuing justice and standing up for the rights of the marginalized.’ These are core Jewish commitments. And if you ever had a ritual that teaches those commitments, it is Passover.”