The Jewish holiday of Pesach, or Passover, is an eight-day festival celebrated in the early spring, from the 15th through the 22nd of the Hebrew month of Nissan.
This year, it runs from April 19 to April 27
Passover commemorates the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt. Following its rituals allows the Jewish community to relive and experience the freedom of their ancestors.
Observances: Passover is divided into two parts. The first two days, April 19 and April 20, and the last two days, April 26 and April 27, are full-fledged holidays. Holiday candles are lit at night, and holiday meals (Seders) are usually enjoyed for one or two days. The middle four days are referred to as Chol Hamoed, or semi-festive “intermediate days.” To commemorate the unleavened bread that the Israelites ate when they left Egypt, Jews don’t eat chametz, or leavened grain, from midday of the day before Passover until the conclusion of the holiday.
Seders: The highlight of Passover is the Seder, typically observed on each of the first two nights of the Passover holiday. The Seder is a 15-step, family-oriented tradition and ritual-packed feast.
Focal points of the Seder include:
- Eating matzah, which is unleavened bread
- Eating bitter herbs to commemorate the bitter slavery endured by the Israelites
- Drinking four cups of wine or grape juice to celebrate the newfound freedom
- The recitation of the Haggadah, a liturgy that describes the story of the Exodus from Egypt. It begins with a child asking the traditional “Four Questions.”
Symbolic Seder foods:
- Maror—bitter herbs, usually horseradish, to serve as a reminder of the bitterness of slavery
- Saltwater—symbolizing the tears of the slaves
- Charoset—sweet paste made of fruit and nuts, symbolizing the mortar the slaves used to build the Egyptian pyramids
- Zeroah—shank bone, representing the Passover sacrifice
- Beitzah—hard-boiled egg, symbolic of life and birth associated with the spring season
- Karpas—a leafy green vegetable, usually a piece of lettuce, symbolizing hope and redemption
- Some traditional Ashkenazi Passover dishes include gefilte fish, matzah ball soup, brisket, tzimmis (sweet carrot and fruit dish), and macaroons and sponge cake (made from matzah meal) for dessert.
Where: Chabad at Wiregrass, 2124 Ashley Oaks Circle, Wesley Chapel
What: Community Seder, featuring gourmet cuisine, wine and handmade Shemurah Matzo, while reliving the exodus and discovering the eternal message of Pesach in a fun and interactive format
When: Friday, April 19 at 8:15 p.m.
Cost: Suggested donation of $30 per person, $100 per family, or $250 per sponsor
Info: Call (813) 642-3244, or visit ChabadatWiregrass.com.
Where: Congregation Kol Ami, 3919 Moran Road, Tampa
What: Taanit Bechorim “First Born Siyyum” and breakfast; Erev Pesah I Services/Shabbat Service
When: Friday, April 19 at 7:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Info: Call (813) 962 6338, or email .
Where: Congregation Mekor Shalom, 14005A N. Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa
What: A Minha Minyan before Pesah
When: Friday, April 19 at 5 p.m.
Info: Call (813) 963-1818, or visit MekorShalom.org.
Where: Congregation Beth Am, 2030 W. Fletcher Ave., Tampa
What: Second Night Passover Seder
When: Saturday, April 20 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Info: Call (813) 968-8511, or visit BethAmTampa.org.
Where: Shoresh David Messianic Synagogue, 7107 Boyette Road, Wesley Chapel
What: Passover Seder
When: Saturday, April 20 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Cost: $20 per adult, $10 for children ages 4 to 10
Info: Call (813) 760-3269, or visit ShoreshDavid.org.
Where: Chabad Jewish Center, 10733 Maple Creek Drive, Trinity
What: First Seder, featuring family seating, handmade Matzah and full dinner with all the trimmings
When: Friday, April 19 at 7:30 p.m.
Cost: $36 for adults, $18 for children
Info: Call (727) 376-3366, or visit ChabadWP.com.
Published April 17, 2019