Pesach, more commonly known in the secular world as Passover, is coming up fast. The Jewish holiday commemorates the exodus of the Jews from Egypt, and remembers the hardships and oppression that our people endured throughout their journey. The holiday is about the freedom that our people gained. Of course I think about the evil Pharaoh, and the ten plagues, and how the Jewish people wandered through the desert for forty years. Of course I know the story of Passover, and I appreciate the meaning of everything on the Seder plate. Of course I make sure to eat Matzah Pizza and stay away from leavened things for the duration of the holiday.
Yet through all of this, my biggest takeaway from the holiday is the people that I observe the holiday with. When I think about Passover, I think about sitting with my family and close friends and telling the story of our people. I think about how the holiday itself is not only about our peoples’ struggles. Although there were many incredible obstacles in their way, the Jewish people not only survived, but also thrived. That is what I think about when I look around the table during the Passover seder. How we came from such oppression, and how we are sitting here, today, celebrating the strength of our ancestors. Whether I am sitting at a seder in Gainesville, surrounded by fellow students and community members, or I am sitting in the comfort of my own home in Hollywood, Florida, I am always grateful for the journey that our people went on to give us this freedom that we still have to this very day.
Whether you observe the holiday by cleaning all of the Chometz (any food product made from wheat, barley, rye, oats - anything “un-kosher” for Passover) out of your house, or you attend a Seder, or you keep Passover throughout the whole week, or you do nothing - I ask that you take a minute to think about the freedom that you are given. If you take two minutes out of your every-day routine to simply reflect and appreciate that, as Jewish people, we are still here - strong, thriving, living - you are honoring the memory of our ancestors. You are honoring the spirit of Passover.