Pesakh

Pesakh Tzedakah Opportunities

#1 ... When the afikomen is found, instead of giving the finder a gift, why not allow him/her to ransom it for a ten dollar (or more) contribution to a tzedakah recipient of his/her own choice? This way, the prize will reinforce the Pesakh concept of acting on behalf of the oppressed in our day.

#2 ... Instead of storing away your non-Pesakh foods, bring your (unopened) items to the Tzedakah Shopping Cart, located in the religious school lobby. We will see that they are delivered to the hungry and needy in our area. Do this as a family, making sure even the littlest ones understand the true meaning of Pesakh!

#3 ... Make a special family contribution to WCT’s Hunger Fund, fighting hunger locally and across the globe.

You Can Definitely Conduct Your Own Seder

It's not as hard as you think. And the little effort you put in will yield you, your family and friends, great enjoyment and satisfaction. Here are some helpful suggestions ...

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Adding Creative Readings To Your Seder

If you like your Haggadah but you just want to add something new every now and then, the Dreskin family has lots of resources for you. They include additional readings, a Pesach funbook, and silly songs.  Read on for more!

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Let's All Eat Matzah Together

Eating matzah during Pesakh links us to Jews all over the world. The festival commemorating the Exodus from ancient Egypt reminds us of our ancestor's flight from slavery.

How often do we hear, “Why should I eat matzah for seven days? I can barely make it during the seder!” Pesakh sounds a clarion call for religious freedom across the globe. Matzah is the “bread of the poor” and provides a way to identify with people in need world-wide and remind ourselves that they ought not be forgotten.

It’s also valuable to eat matzah as a reinforcement of our Jewishness. We can recharge our Jewish batteries, proclaiming to ourselves, “What a magnificent heritage I have! I'm so proud to be Jewish!”

To Eat or Not to Eat ... What to Eat Is the Question

“You shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this very day I brought your ranks out of the land of Egypt; you shall observe this day throughout the ages as an institution for all time.  In the first month, from the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread until the twenty-first day of the month at evening. No leaven shall be found in your houses for seven days. For whoever eats what is leavened, that person shall be cut off from the assembly of Israel, whether he is a stranger or a citizen of the country. You shall eat nothing leavened;  in all your settlements you shall eat unleavened bread.” (Exodus 12:16-20)

The Book of Exodus specifically mandates that “throughout the seven days (of Pesakh) unleavened bread shall be eaten.” Accordingly, any food that has become fermented is prohibited during Passover. These forbidden foods, and by extension, utensils that come into contact with these foods, are characterized in Hebrew as hametz, literally meaning “sour.” Although it may seem a simple matter to distinguish between what’s unleavened (matzah) and what’s leavened (hametz), it’s not always obvious. Hopefully, this will clarify what’s what!

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Who Left Moses Out of the Haggadah?

The traditional haggadah refers to Moses only once. The Reform movement’s haggadah omits him entirely! But wasn't he the same Moses who challenged Pharaoh, led the Israelites out of Egypt, and brought them to Mount Sinai?

Yes, all true. But the ancient rabbis feared that Moses might become deified as a result of his great leadership. Moreover, the rabbis wanted to emphasize that God was responsible for Israel's redemption. So Moses only got a bit part in our Passover ritual.

--excerpted from The Jewish Home: A Guide for Jewish Living (URJ Press, New York)

How Many Days Do We Celebrate Pesakh?

The Torah commands a Pesakh observance of seven days. This is followed by Reform Jews and those who live in Israel. Conservative and Orthodox Jews outside of Israel celebrate Pesakh for eight days. Around the seventh century BCE, people were notified of a holiday's beginning by means of an elaborate network of mountaintop bonfires. To guard against the possibility of error, an extra day was added to many of the holidays. By the time a dependable calendar came into existence, the additional day was so deeply engrained, the talmudic sages made the practice halakha (law).

--excerpted from The Jewish Home: A Guide for Jewish Living (URJ Press, New York)

Thinking About Passover

If there's just one piece of information that every Jew knows, it's that once we were slaves and then we became free.

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