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Jewish Community Celebrates Passover and Freedom

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VESTAL, N.Y. -

Tonight is the first night of the Jewish holiday of Passover.

It's the first of eight days of celebration of the Jewish community's emancipation from slavery in Egypt over 3,000 years ago.

One Rabbi in our area says celebrating freedom, in it’s every form, is the purpose of Passover. Families will talk and sing and pray to celebrate freedom and free speech.

"If you take the word Pesach in Hebrew, there are two translations. One of them, Pesach in one word, is pass over, meaning when G-d came to Egypt and he wanted to expunge the firstborns of Egyptians, He 'passed over' the Jewish houses to spare them. But the other explanation, when you divide Pesach in two words, Pe and  Sach, it means 'mouth' 'speaking,' meaning freedom of speech. And that's what we do every year for over 3,000 years. To remind the world of two things, against oppression and slavery and for freedom of speech. That's what we do on Pesach." - Hillel Academy Rabbi Moshe Shmaryahu

The Rabbi said Passover can be the holiday for all humankind. He said Jews are already free, but he wants to remind the world that there are people living in countries that don't have freedom of speech, there's modern day slavery, especially the exploitation of children. He encourages people to speak up on behalf of others all over the world.

Children will sing songs passed down for generations, like the Mah Nishtanah, the Four Questions of why the Jewish people keep certain traditions like eating matzoh and bitter foods. The bitters and matzoh, or unleavened bread is to remember the hardships and rush to leave for the promised land Israel. 

Coincidentally, the first night of Passover this year falls on the same weekend as the holiday of Easter, when Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Rabbi said it's quite interesting because in the Hebrew calendar, this month is called the month of Nissan, it's the month of redemption and the Messiah will soon come on this month.