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The first 2 nights of the 8 day holiday are celebrated with lavish meals called Seders in which the stories and history of Passover are celebrated. Special foods, plates, silverware are all a part of the Seder. Taking place the first 2 nights of the 8 day holiday, the Seder is the most important event in the Passover celebration. Usually gathering the whole family and friends together, the Seder is steeped in long held traditions and customs. Leading up to the first night of Passover, the home is cleaned and cleared of all yeast foods, called hametz. All hametz is either eaten before Passover begins or "sold" to non-Jewish neighbors and friends. The rules surrounding Passover are strict and many, with only special foods, utensils, and dishware allowed. Kitchen utensils and dishware normally used in the home are not be used during Passover. Special dishes and utensils for the Passover holiday are taken out of storage, cleaned and used.
Only foods that are "Kosher for Passover" are allowed. No leavened (containing yeast) foods or grains are eaten. In their place matzoh and foods containing matzoh are eaten. This is to commemorate the Israelites who fled quickly into the desert with no time for their breads to rise and were forced to bake the dough into hard crackers in the desert sun. All foods prohibited during Passover must be disposed of the morning of the first night of Passover.

SHALOM & WELCOME

to a celebration of the Jewish holiday of Pesach (Passover). Passover is the 8 day observance commemorating the freedom and exodus of the Israelites (Jewish slaves) from Egypt during the reign of the Pharaoh Ramses II. A time of family gatherings and lavish meals called Seders, the story of Passover is retold through the reading of the Haggadah. With its special foods, songs, and customs, the Seder is the focal point of the Passover celebration. Passover begins on the 15th day of the Jewish month of Nissan.
With its Passover dishware and silverware, the Seder table is different than the regular dinner table. The centerpiece of which is the Seder plate, a special plate containing the 5 foods that remind us of the struggle of the Israelites in their quest and journey to freedom Three pieces of matzoh are placed in a Matzoh Cover (a cloth sleeve or envelope) and placed in the center of the Seder table. Before the meal begins the middle matzoh is removed and broken in half.  One half is returned to the Matzoh Cover, the other - the Afikomen - is hidden, to be hunted by the children at the end of the Seder meal. The child who finds the Afikomen wins a special prize. Some homes break the Afikomen in to many pieces assuring that each child present can find a piece and receive a prize. The Seder plate contains foods that have special meaning for this holiday:

Haroseth - A mixture of chopped walnuts, wine, cinnamon and apples that represents the mortar the Jewish slaves used to assemble the Pharaoh's bricks.
Parsley (dipped in salt water) - Symbolizing Springtime, it is dipped in salt water to remind us of for the tears of the Jewish slaves
Roasted egg - Another symbol of Spring
Shank Bone - Symbolic of the sacrificial lamb offering, the bone can come from whatever the family is eating, such as the leg bone of a roasted turkey
Bitter herbs - Freshly grated horseradish reflects the bitter affliction of slavery

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