Passover (Pesach in Hebrew) is for many the highlight of the Jewish calendar. The sacred rituals and text of the Seder Night, and the traditions followed by each family make this a truly special occasion. Pesach lasts for seven or eight days, and is celebrated in Reform Judaism from the 15th to 22nd of Nissan.
Passover is perhaps the most widely observed holiday of the entire year, and many families have long-standing, beloved traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation.
Pesach focusses very much on the communal experience of seder, during which we also acknowledge the communal nature of the exodus from Egypt. ‘We were slaves’ ‘We came out of Egypt’. It is a moment when we align ourselves with the history of the Jewish experience, we are very much in the present, and we also ritualise a hope for a world that might be improved. In not eating chametz for an entire week, we continually return to that communal experience. But we must also remember that Pesach should not financially or physically enslave us. We do not need to spend a fortune on Kosher for Passover products, but perhaps embrace the simpler things in life – fresh produce, fewer chemicals and pre-packaged items, and in this way make Pesach a lived experience of how we might each play our part in improving the world for the future.
Rabbi Debbie Young-Somers, of Edgware and Hendon Reform Synagogue discusses that Pesach isn’t just about seder, but takes us out of our ordinary rhythms to cleanse and experience the rebirth of spring. You can read more here.