MIAMI (CBSMiami) – 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 or Pesach, as it is called in Hebrew, celebrates the Exodus of the Jewish people from slavery in Ancient Egypt more than three thousand years ago.

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.

Monday afternoon, Governor Rick Scott issued the following statement for Passover.

“Ann and I wish all those celebrating Passover a happy and healthy holiday and I look forward to taking part in a traditional Seder with members of our Jewish community this evening.  Passover is a time where we can all reflect on the freedom we have in our great state and nation. However, as we begin celebrating this evening, we will not forget the innocent victims that were killed and hurt in Overland Park, Kansas this weekend when a gunman opened fire outside a Jewish community center and retirement home. There is no place for these acts of evil in our society. Ann and I will continue to pray for all those affected by this terrible tragedy.  Chag Sameach.”

The Hebrew word Pesach means ‘to pass over’. It’s a reminder of God’s promise to “pass over” the Jewish people when he sent the last plague onto Egypt.  The Angel of Death killed all of the Egyptians’ firstborn sons, but the Jewish people marked their doors with lamb’s blood so the Angel of Death would ‘pass over’ their houses and not kill their firstborn sons.

When the Jews finally left Egypt, they did so in a hurry and they didn’t have time to bake their bread dough in ovens. So they carried the unbaked dough on their backs, and as they were walking it cooked in the sun. It became hard and flat and was called ‘matzah’, or unleavened bread.

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.


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