MISSION AND MINISTRY | Passover, the festival of freedom, and perhaps most widely celebrated of all Jewish holidays, celebrates the Exodus from Egypt. It is observed by Jews, secular and religious, and most clearly defines what it means to be a Jew. It is the biblical Passover story that provides the spiritual force of the celebration. The saga of the Exodus points to the core principles that underlie every Jewish value and inform the purpose of Jewish existence. Jews touch upon this story in daily prayer, at their weekly Sabbath dinner table, and when observing each festival throughout the year.
Passover is particularly special, because it takes place in the home, as opposed to the synagogue or temple, as most holidays do. Whenever rituals are done on a regular basis, particularly in the home, the memories associated with them can last a lifetime. I still remember my Papa Meyer reciting the blessings, (that no one understood), standing at the head of the Passover table, while his grandchildren were crying from trying not to laugh because we thought the Hebrew sounded funny. I was probably 7 or 8 years old. When we were older, my grandmother would tell us about her experiences in the Holocaust, of her own exodus from the death camps, and about how she had met Pharaoh in her own lifetime.
During the Passover holiday itself, Jews recount and relive the Exodus story in its entirety. The main ritual of Passover is the Seder, a festive meal that involves the re-telling of the Exodus through stories and song and the consumption of ritual foods, including matzah and maror (bitter herbs). The Seder’s rituals and other readings are outlined in the “Haggadah,” a book that provides a script for the Seder that has been used to tell and re-tell this story generation after generation.
Jewish Student Life and LMU Hillel invites you to join us for our own LMU Passover Seder on April 6, 2018, beginning at 6 p.m. in The Hill, Malone Student Center, 4th floor. Everyone is invited to participate in this joyous occasion as we celebrate our freedom together.
Rabbi Zachary Zysman