Passover begins tonight
“Living our story that is told for all peoples, whose shining conclusion is yet to unfold, we gather to observe the Passover, as it is written — “You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this very day I brought your hosts out of Egypt. You shall observe this day throughout the generations as a practice for all times (Exodus 12:17).” – “A Passover Haggadah,” Central Conference of American Rabbis
Passover, the Jewish holiday commemorating the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt, begins at sundown tonight.
In honor of the holiday, I’d like to offer some Passover related or Judaism news tidbits and commentary:
Passover foods hold meaning
My first seder several years ago was a memorable one. I’ll never forget the moving experience as the meal helped tell the story of the Israelites’ freedom from Egyptian bondage. For non-Jews, here’s a sampling of some of the seder foods and the meaning attached to them, taken from “A Passover Haggadah.”
The seder place typically consists of a roasted shankbone, which represents the ancient Passover sacrifice.
Parsley or any green herbs signifies the growth of springtime, the green of hope and renewal.
The top part of the horseradish root is symbolic of the bitterness that the Israelites experienced in Egypt, and in a modern sense, the lot of all who are enslaved.
Haroset is a sweet combination (and my favorite edible part of the seder) of apples with chopped walnuts or pecans. Sometimes mashed raisins, dates, prunes or apricots are added, along with cinnamon and wine. Haroset represents the mortar which the Israelites used in doing Pharoah’s labor.
A roasted egg represents a festival offering and is a symbol of life itself.
Three separate pieces of matzah are typically placed in either a special cloth matzah cover with three sections or in a napkin folded over twice. these three pieces of matzah represent the two traditional loaves set out in the ancient Temple during the festival day and the extra matzah symbolic of Passover.
Newsweek releases list of 50 most influential Jewish clergy
Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism in edWashington and a member of President Obama’s Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, tops Newsweek’s list of the 50 most influential Jewish clergy in the country, Religion News Service reports.
The RNS reported that Saperstein took the top spot from Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center. Hier had topped both previous annual lists, but came in second this year.
The ranking system, compiled for the third year by Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton, News Corp’s Gary Ginsberg and Jay Sanderson of JTN Productions, rewards rabbis with international reputations and political influence.
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