Thousands of Jews in Charlotte begin their celebration of Passover at sundown on Friday.
This major religious holiday commemorates the freedom of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt under the leadership of Moses, who was directed by God.
Jewish families today mark this event with a ritualized meal called a Seder. During the special dinner, the Israelites’ story – recounted in Exodus, the second book of the Hebrew Scriptures – is retold.
Passover is also called by its Hebrew name: Pesach (PAY-sakh). It lasts for seven days in Israel and for eight days in the United States and other places outside Israel.
The holiday takes its name from God’s instructions to the Israelites to mark the upper part of their homes’ doors with lamb’s blood so the Angel of Death would “pass over” their homes as he killed the firstborn male of each family in Egypt during the 10th plague.
Traditionally, the Seder held in Jewish homes on the first night or the first two nights of Passover features special foods and includes the reading of the Haggadah, a compilation of biblical passages, hymns and rabbinic literature.