Passover is an eight day celebration. It commemorates the freedom of Jewish slaves from Egypt during the reign of Pharaoh Ramses II. Families celebrate Passover by having a Seder. With special foods, songs, and customs, the Seder is the focal point of the Passover celebration. Seder means order, and the Passover story is read in order from a book called a haggadah.
Fearing that Jews were becoming too strong, a Pharaoh decreed that all male Jewish babies were to be killed. Jocheved and Amran, a Jewish couple, wanted to save their infant son – so they put him in a basket that floated him down the river. The infant was rescued by the Pharaoh’s daughter and she raised him as her own son. She named the baby Moses, which means ” take from the water.” When Moses grew up, he empathized with the Jewish slaves and tried to get the Pharaoh to free them. The Pharaoh refused – so there were 10 plagues sent down to Egypt: Blood, Frogs, Lice, Beasts, Cattle Disease, Boils, Hail, Locusts, Darkness, and Slaying of the Firstborn. The name Passover comes from the Plague of Slaying the Firstborn. The Angel of Death passed over the homes of the Jews who had put lambs blood on their doors.
After the 10th plague, Pharaoh agreed to let the Jewish slaves go. They gathered up their belongings so quickly, they didn’t have time for their bread to rise, so they had to bake it and take it the way it was. This is why the Jewish people eat matzah which is flat during Passover. As they were fleeing, Pharaoh changed his mind, and sent his army to bring them back but Moses parted the Red Sea for the Jews to cross, and as soon as they were safely to the other side, the waters closed on the soldiers, drowning them all. The Jewish people were free.
We wish all of our Jewish au pairs, host families and friends around the world a Happy Passover.