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Jewish community prepares for Passover

By ERICA RODRIGUEZ
March 25, 2010 at midnight
Updated March 25, 2010 at 10:26 p.m.


Passover begins at sundown Monday. Local Jews will celebrate freedom with food and fellowship.

"It's probably the most important holiday and the most widely celebrated," said Rabbi Shira Lander of Temple B'nai Israel.

The temple is on Main Street near Stayton Avenue in Victoria.

The celebration typically lasts seven days for reformed Jews. The festival commemorates the Jewish Exodus, the historical deliverance of the people from Egyptian bondage.

A notable component of the holiday is the seder, a family-style ceremony that incorporates bitter herbs, unleavened bread, boiled eggs, meat and four glasses of wine. Locally, members of Temple B'nai Israel will celebrate with a communal seder Friday.

People also observe the holiday by purging their homes of bread products and other foods, depending on their tradition.

"Whatever your tradition, you do certain things to prepare for that," Lander said.

One important component of the event is teaching children about their culture.

"It's very much geared toward keeping children involved," Lander said. "There are all sorts of techniques in involving children and keeping them interested."

Children are required to ask questions during the seder ceremony, for example. The liturgy of the event is often very modern and geared at provoking questions and discussion.

"It's probably the most vibrant of liturgical traditions that exist in Judaism," Lander said.

Although the ritual is ancient, it is flexible and updated often with songs, games and even comedy.

"Even though it's a ritual that occurs annually it really gets infused with new insights and new interpretations year after year," Lander said.

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