Passover begins at sunset on Monday. Congregations in Utah are finding ways to apply the messages of the approximately 3,300 year-old holiday in the twenty-first century.
According to the Hebrew Bible, Jews were liberated from slavery in Egypt in the Hebrew year 2,448. We are currently in the year 5,777 on the Hebrew calendar, and the story still holds deep spiritual significance for Utah’s Jewish community. Rabbi Benny Zippel of Salt Lake City’s Chabad Lubavitch Synagogue says that he teaches his congregation that Passover is a time for personal growth.
“We don’t believe in celebrating Passover in the past-tense. Passover has a very practical connotation in that it is the chance that every individual is given every year anew to overcome his or her own boundaries, narrows, straits, restrictions, and experience personal freedom and redemption.”
While the story of Passover continues to resonate for the Jewish community, so do its traditions. Over the last few days, Rabbi Zippel has been busy preparing for Seder, a ritual feast that marks the beginning of Passover.
“I’ve been distributing what is known as matzo, the flat traditional bread that Jews are commanded to partake of on Passover, which is indicative of personal humility, as opposed to the puffiness of the bread that we use all year round, which is indicative of self-awareness and arrogance.”
There is a community Seder at 6 p.m. Monday night at the IJ & Jeanne Wagner Jewish Community Center.