14th day of Nissan
Passover is one of the greatest stories of religious freedom ever told, the story of the Exodus is the Israelites’ struggle from slavery to freedom, and their covenant with God at Mount Sinai. The quest for religious freedom, for the right to be a Jew is an ongoing struggle for many Jews around the world, and the Jewish people commit themselves anew to it each year at the Passover Seder.
The Passover Seder (meaning order) is probably the most celebrated and beloved of Jewish home rituals. It is believed that the obligation to tell the story of the Exodus was observed by Jews’ ancestors ever since the actual Exodus itself.
As a home event involving the full family as well as guests, the Seder requires the participation of the old and young. In order to tell the story, Jews have created a “script” for the ritual of Passover, called the Haggadah (literally, “telling”). It contains questions and answers, stories, show and tell, song, and food.
On an individual level, the Seder requires each participant to feel as though he/she personally left Egypt. On a global level the Seder symbolizes the redemption from slavery and the formation of the Jewish state that did not exist as a nation before the Exodus from Egypt.
“Jews all over the world end the Seder by saying, “Next year in Jerusalem.” The desire to return to this land has included the desire to practice Judaism without restriction in a Jewish context.