Passover begins: A Jewish celebration

Posted by Debra Worley - email

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Sundown on Wednesday marks the beginning of a week long Jewish celebration.

Passover is the Jewish holiday that marks their freedom from enslavement by the Egyptians.

According to the Old Testament, the Jews had requested freedom from the Pharaoh of Egypt but were denied.  To punish the Egyptians, God sent the 10 plagues to Egypt to convince the Pharaoh to release the Jews.

The last of the plagues was to kill the firstborn male in each Egyptian household.  Jews marked their doors with the blood of a sacrificed animal so that the Angel of Death would "pass over" their home and protect their firstborn sons.

During the first two nights of the Passover celebration, special feasts are made that include foods like bitter herbs, sweet apples, and matzah bread.

"We don't eat bread, we don't eat pizza, we don't eat beer," said Rabbi Harley Karz-wagman.  "Anything that has grains that have risen. Part of that is because we had to rush out of Egypt to become free.  Part of that is that leavening, that puffed up yeast in any product reminds us of our own ego."

Jewish families in the Wilmington area will gather around the table to tell stories and reflect on their history during this holiday.

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