Mae's Real Stories

Memories for Miriam, Alice, Theo, Delia, Tessa and anyone else who would like to be here

Friday, March 23, 2007


Passover Celebration

In the spring we celebrate the Jewish holiday called Passover. We have a special ceremony called a Seder, and we tell a story about Jewish history a long, long time ago. To tell this story, we have special food on the table. The picture shows the table from last year.

At the Seder, we tell the story of how the Jews were slaves in the land of Egypt in this long-ago time, and how Moses, their leader, helped them to escape. We celebrate freedom and the coming of spring.

Moses and all the people ran away from Egypt so fast that they didn't have time to bake bread, but ate a flat bread called matzoh. For the holiday of Passover, many Jewish people do not eat any other type of bread or crackers for 8 days, because they want to remember the story.

When the Jewish people were slaves, they had to work very hard making big buildings for the Egyptians. On the Seder plate is a special fruit jam called charoses that tastes very good.

Charoses looks like the mortar that holds a brick or stone building together, and we eat it to remind us of the lives of the Jewish slaves who worked on the buildings in Egypt.

The next special food is called "bitter herbs," or horseradish. This is a very bitter, sharp-tasting root. This taste makes all the people at the Seder remember the hard and "bitter" lives that the Jewish people had when they were slaves around 3000 years ago. They make us remember that freedom is a good thing.

One part of the Seder is to eat matzoh with some charoses and ground-up horseradish on it, and remember the bitter and the sweet parts of the story.

Salt water on the Passover plate makes us remember the tears that people wept when they were not free men and women.

The egg on the Passover plate reminds us that spring is here.
Parsley or other mild-tasting green herbs is also on the Seder table to remind us of spring. Another part of the Passover celebration is to eat egg with salt water and matzoh, and to dip the parsley in salt water.

Also on the Passover plate is a bone from a lamb. We also drink wine as we tell the story.

When Moses helped the Jews to escape, the first thing they did was to cross a big sea named the Red Sea. Here is the magical part of the story: the water of the sea opened up, and everyone could walk between the walls of water.

While they walked, Moses's sister sang and danced to help them on their way. Her name was Miriam, and she has an important part in the story. After all the Jews crossed the Red Sea and escaped from slavery, they lived in the desert for a long time. Miriam had a magic well so that wherever they went, they found water to drink. Even though the desert is a very dry place, Miriam's magic well was always with them.

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