Pesach

Pesach, otherwise known as the Jewish Passover, begins on the 15th of the Month of Nisan and ends and last for either seven days (for those living in Israel) or eight days for everyone else. This day pays homage to the trek of the Jews from slavery in Egypt as told in the story of Exodus.

History

According the the Book Of Exodus from the Bible, God helped the people of Israel escape their slavery in Egypt by the pharaoh by inflicting ten plagues upon the land. These ten plagues were: Turning the waters of the Nile into blood, an invasion of frogs into Egypt, turning the dust of the land into lice, a plague of wild animals (or flies according to some interpretations), the festering of Egyptian skin and livestock with boils, locusts, darkness and finally, the death of all Egyptians first born.

After this fury of plagues, the pharaoh was scared that he would be killed next, so he ordered the Israelites to leave and take whatever they wanted with them. The Israelites did so with Moses leading them.

Celebrations and Observances

The central part of the Pesach is the Passover Seder. This is a festive meal that is composed of three servings of matzah, and six symbolic foods served on a seperate plate. These symbolic foods are: bitter herbs (usually horseradish), a root vegetable (usually a potato), Charoset, a shank bone (usually sheep), an egg an lettuce. The meal is eaten in a ritualistic fashion and with the accompaniment of several prayers.

Hanukkah