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Why Is Passover Significant?

The Jewish holiday of Passover began at sundown on April 5, and will last for eight days. Passover is important to Jews for a number of reasons. In telling the story of the Exodus from Egypt, it reminds many Jews that there is still injustice in the world that needs to be overcome. “There is still existing slavery in the world, and celebrating our freedom really should come with the serious responsibility [of remembering] that not everyone is free,” Ms. Weinsaft explained. This connects to tikkun olam, the Jewish value of repairing the world. “There’s really more tikkun olam. . . that we could be doing for each other. That’s a big piece I try to bring up [at Passover].”

Passover also reminds Jews of persistence and perseverance in the face of injustice. “I love the Passover story,” Mr. Jones said. “[It’s different because] it is a story of how many times you need to send a message to somebody before it actually gets through. . . . Persistence is important, because. . .  on a larger scale, social change, social justice—it doesn’t happen quickly. . . . It takes persistence, and a lot of it,” Mr. Jones said. 

“I just like that it’s a story of freedom, of overcoming, and I just love how it’s been passed down for so long,” said Ms. DeHaan.

“The story is a good one,” Mr. Jones added, “and the story of freedom, of exodus, of persistence to get there—I think that is meaningful and impactful for people. The story is where it’s all at—that’s the real gusto of the holiday.”

Additionally, Ms. DeHaan thought the story has implications for Jews, both historically and in the present day. “This is what we’ve been through,” she said. “I think it’s. . .  symbolic of even the things that. . . [Jews]. . .  in this country are going through with antisemitism—there’s a lot packed into this holiday.”

For many Jews, Passover is also about Jewish community, connection, and tradition. “I think [it is] maybe the most celebrated Jewish holiday,” Mr. Jones said, because it is celebrated by Jewish families around the world, regardless of how religious they otherwise are.

“Being able to bring friends and people. . . definitely makes it more fun, being able to share that with people,” Ms. Weinsaft said.

“I love the food and the tradition of it,” said Ms. DeHaan, who makes the same recipes as her mom and grandmother have been making for years. “I like it. I like that you sit at a table and everyone reads—it’s fun. . . . I like hearing the same story over and over again. . . . I think my most vivid memories [were]… just the singing and the same stupid jokes year after year, but I always knew I could count on them, and I liked it.”

“I like how it’s weird,” Mr. Jones said. “Everything we do at Passover is weird, because we don’t eat bread. . . . We do a bunch of weird things like take parsley and dip it in saltwater and then eat it, which is weird. . . . I like that. . . because it’s just different and fun. . . . Passover is full of fun traditions and memories for me.” He added that, “Every year, the memories are firmly cemented in my brain, and I have remembered them. So it’s fun.”

“I love Passover,” said Ms. DeHaan. “It’s my favorite holiday.”

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