How M-A Students Celebrate Passover

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Each year, M-A’s Jewish community celebrates Passover. The holiday begins on the 15th day of the month Nisan in the Hebrew calendar and lasts for eight days. This year, the week began on last Monday and will end this Tuesday.

People celebrate Passover in various ways, appreciating the serious as well as lighthearted aspects of the holiday through activities and discussions. 

Junior Lainey Egnal’s love for the holiday stems from who she spends it with. “I look forward to Passover each year,” she said. “Nothing makes me happier than being able to spend quality time with family, which is hard to do during the busy school year.” Freshman Sky Kimmel also loves spending time with loved ones, but not just her family. She shared, “My family invites my cousins and also my neighbors. We love to share parts of Judaism with other families during the holidays.”

One fan-favorite part of Passover is the food and specifically the seder, the feast that falls on the first night. There are six components of the main seder plate, each representing a different part of the story of Passover. In addition to special Passover foods, this meal often includes traditional Jewish foods like matzo ball soup and brisket. “My favorite part of Passover is the food, specifically my nani’s matzo ball soup, which is to die for,” said sophomore Laila Krefetz. She continued, “It smells and tastes like pure comfort.” 

Egnal shared the same love for matzo ball soup, calling it a “Passover classic” that her family makes together each year. “A close second favorite is the gefilte fish,” she added. “My mom gets it from a special market, and it is so flavorful and delicious.”

Along with delicious meals, Passover nights include fun traditions and activities. Many families hold a scavenger hunt for the afikomen, which is a broken piece of matzah wrapped in a handkerchief and hidden in the house. “Everyone, even the oldest cousins, join in on the scavenger hunt,” said Kimmel. “Everyone is super competitive because sometimes we get a prize for finding it.” 

Krefetz’s colorful masks

Many families also have unique traditions relating to the story of Passover. “When discussing the ten plagues, my family uses finger puppets and colorful eye masks to represent each plague, and that helps it become informative and entertaining,” said Krefetz.

For many, Passover is a time of reflection. Krefetz’s family reads the story of Passover each year. She explained, “It’s a way for both me and my family to understand how our ancestors escaped slavery. We always use the story to then relate it to our own lives and remind ourselves to appreciate all that we have.” 

Freshman William Kesselman recognizes Passover as a celebration of Jewish freedom that came after intense struggle. “Throughout the week, I partake in fasting while only eating matzah,” he said “It helps me feel connected to my religion and everything going on in the world.”

Kimmel explained, “The holiday brings everyone together to remember how we gained freedom. It makes me cherish the freedom I have and my ability to make my own decisions, which is a freedom that my relatives before me didn’t have.” 

Kesselman also keeps this history in mind. “I try to keep a balance between the fun activities and the serious reflections,” he shared. “I want to uphold the duality of good and bad that happened in history.”

As the week of Passover comes to an end, M-A students are spending their evenings cherishing special time with friends and family, eating delicious food, and giving thought to the origin of the holiday.

Tessa is a junior at M-A and in her first year of journalism. She hopes to write about school events and athletics. When not in school, she enjoys dancing and is Captain of the M-A dance team.

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