MIAMI (CBS4) – Millions of people of the Jewish faith across South Florida and the nation will begin the celebration of the Passover holiday at sunset on Monday.
Passover celebrates the Exodus of the Jewish people from slavery in Ancient Egypt more than three thousand years ago.
“Passover is a celebration of the freedom our ancestors dreamed of, fought for, and ultimately won. But even as we give thanks, we are called to look to the future. We are reminded that responsibility does not end when we reach the promised land, it only begins,” said President Obama in a statement. “As my family and I prepare to once again take part in this ancient and powerful tradition, I am hopeful that we can draw upon the best in ourselves to find the promise in the days that lie ahead, meet the challenges that will come, and continuing the hard work of repairing the world. Chag sameach.”
The Jewish people escaped slavery in ancient Egypt in the year 1313 BCE. The Exodus was preceded by ten plagues inflicted on Egypt after Pharaoh refused Moses request to set his people free.
When the Jews finally left Egypt, they did so in a hurry and their bread did not have time to rise. In commemoration of that, Jews don’t eat any leaven products. Instead they eat Matzah, a cracker-like bread that is made within eighteen minutes-the time it takes for bread to rise.
It is traditional for Jewish families to gather on the first two nights of Passover for a special dinner called a seder. The table is set with the finest china and silverware to reflect the importance of the meal. During this meal, the story of the Exodus from Egypt is retold.