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Passover (Hebrew: חַג הַפֶּסַח), also called Pesach, is a major Jewish spring festival celebrating freedom and family commemorating the Hebrews' liberation from slavery in Egypt and the “passing over” of the forces of destruction, or the sparing of the firstborn of the Israelites, when the Lord “smote the land of Egypt” on the eve of the Exodus more than 3,000 years ago.

On the 15th day of Nisan in the Hebrew calendar, Jews gather with family and friends in the evening to read from a book called the Haggadah, meaning "telling," which contains the order of prayers, rituals, readings, and songs for the Passover Seder. The Haggadah helps us retell the events of the Exodus, so that each generation may learn and remember this story that is so central to Jewish life and history.

The main observances of Passover center around the Passover Seder, which includes a festive meal, the prohibition on eating chametz, and the eating of matzoh. At the seder, foods of symbolic significance commemorating the Hebrews’ liberation are eaten, and prayers and traditional recitations are performed. Foods offered at a seder generally include gefilte fish (poached fish dumplings), matzo ball soup, brisket or roast chicken, potato kugel (somewhat like a casserole) and tzimmes, a stew of carrots and prunes, sometimes including potatoes or sweet potatoes.

Passover is celebrated for either seven or eight days, depending on family and communal custom. In Israel and for most Reform Jews around the world, Passover is seven days, but for many other Jews, it is eight days.

Sun, September 25 2022 29 Elul 5782