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Jews celebrate Passover start

Posted: April 7, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: April 7, 2012 1:55 a.m.

From front, Mark Barton, his son Everett Barton, 13, and Jim Van Winkle eat matzo at the end of the Seder meal as part of the Passover service hosted by Temple Beth Ami at the Valencia Hills clubhouse in Valencia on April 19, 2011.

 


Santa Clarita Valley’s Jewish community marked the beginning of Passover, the seven-day Jewish holiday that commemorates the historical exodus of the Jews from ancient Egypt, this week.

During that time, the ancient Israelites escaped from slavery in Egypt and gained their freedom.

Passover began Friday night and continues through April 14. Local congregation leaders say Passover is a time to remember the significance of the past, but to also place high importance on the future.

Tasting slavery

Jewish families and congregations around the valley began their Passover last night with the traditional Seder meal and the reading of the Haggadah.

The Haggadah is read to tell the story of the escape from slavery in Egypt.

“Really, Passover is a feast of freedom,” said Rabbi Howard Siegel of Congregation Beth Shalom. “We try to change our diets during this time to help us remember what it was like to be a slave and achieve freedom.”

A Seder meal includes traditional foods, such as matzo, a reminder of the unleavened bread that was eaten when the Jewish people left Egypt.

Marror, bitter herbs, are also consumed, and vegetables dipped in salt water are eaten to reflect the tears of the Jewish people during their struggle and liberation and to help the Jewish people today experience “tasting slavery.”

“Eating these special meals allows people to tell the story and use foods to explain the value of freedom,” said Rabbi Mark Blazer of Temple Beth Ami.

Appreciating freedom

Passover is not only seen as a time to remember the past, but to look toward the future by teaching children about the holiday. Many Jews also celebrate the natural change of seasons and the renewal of springtime that coincides with Passover.

“We need to teach the next generation the value of this freedom,” Blazer said. “Passover takes on a new feeling every year based on what is going on in the world. Today’s issues of personal freedoms connected to the upcoming election are also very relevant to remembering Passover.”

Likewise, it is important during Passover be thankful for freedom won, said Rabbi Choni Marozov of Chabad of SCV.

He stressed the significance of appreciating freedom and asking God to bring freedom to people around the world who do
not have it.

Every day is a kind of personal exodus, Marozov said. “We set new limits and goals and leap over our old limitations to constantly grow as human beings.”

faith@the-signal.com
661-287-5525

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