Chag Sameach: Passover begins on April 15 | Our news

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Chag Sameach: Passover begins on April 15

The Jewish festival of Pesach, or Passover, begins on April 15 and ends on April 23 this year. Rabbi Mordechai Wollenberg, our Honorary Jewish Chaplain explains the festival, why it is celebrated and what we can offer patients:

Passover is one of the three pilgrim festivals that is celebrated by Jewish people annually, and commemorates the Exodus from Egypt and the birth of the Hebrew nation as told in the Hebrew Bible. 

On the first two nights it is customary to gather with family and friends, for a Seder meal and service which centres around telling the story of the Exodus. Some highlights include: drinking four cups of wine or grape juice, dipping veggies into saltwater, children asking the Four Questions (to encourage children to be inquisivtive, and help to understand the purpose of the Passover), eating matzah (a cracker-like food, unleavened bread recalls leaving Egypt with no time to allow their bread to rise) and bitter hers, and singing traditional songs late into the night.

On Passover, Jews may not own or consume chametz, which is anything containing grain that has risen. This includes virtually all breads, pastas, cakes and similar.  Prior to the holiday, homes are thoroughly cleaned for Passover, kitchens are koshered and the remaining chametz is burned or sold.

Passover is observed widely by traditional Jewish families, and in particular, many embrace the special diet. 

Patients who are celebrating Passover

Patients in hospital who request kosher food should be given only "Kosher for Passover" meals which will be marked as such and should be in stock around this time of year. 

The Jewish Chaplain will be able to assist during this time, and they are also available to provide items for a Seder if patients wish. 

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