Jews celebrate Passover to honor God
Holiday. Passover, or Pessach.
When? Passover is celebrated annually according to the Hebrew calendar on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan and lasts seven days in Israel and eight days in the diaspora. In 2021 it is from March 28th - April 3rd.
The meaning. It’s the most important Jewish holiday, which celebrates the Exodus, a liberation of Jewish people by God from slavery in Egypt under the leadership of Moses. Passover means the beginning of new life for Jews and a new harvest of barley, the first grain, which ripens in the Land of Israel.
How it is celebrated. There is a very old tradition of cleaning the house before Passover and to throw away all yeast bread, which is found at home. This bread should be burnt in the fire. The ritual symbolizes the deliverance of slavery in Egypt. During Pesach people eat only matzah (matzo), an unleavened flatbread made from flour and water, a symbol of Passover.
On the first night of Passover, Jewish families gather by a special dinner called a Seder. “Seder means for us two things: a festive meal and a Haggadah, the story of the Exodus from Egypt”, Jacob Silberman, a 38 year-old engineer from Haifa, tells. “The main dish is “Keara”, a Passover Seder Plate with six symbolic foods: a maror (bitter herbs which means a bitterness of slavery in Egypt), an egg, a horseradish, a chicken wing (in honor of the sacrificial lamb), a charoset (a sweet paste made of fruits and nuts) and a karpas. Each of these components has its own meaning. During the Seder, everyone should drink four glasses of wine, which are consumed at various stages in the narrative. For children we use red grape juice. We celebrate Passover for the glory of God”.
Jacob has been living in Klagenfurt only for eight months. “Unfortunately, there is no Jewish community in Carinthia, or I don’t know about it. We are not the Orthodox Jews, but we always celebrate Passover, this tradition comes from childhood. My wife and two sons always help me with preparation. I have already bought a matzah. We brought from Israel our small silver wine cups. So, we are looking forward to have a good Passover”.
Text: Vita Vitrenko, Photos: provided by Jacob Silberman.