Pesach, or Passover (PEH-soch, translation: Passover)

A week-long festival beginning on the fifteenth of Nisan, in the spring. Passover has several names in Hebrew: "The Season of our Freedom," "The Season of our Liberation," "The Holiday of Spring," and "The Holiday of the Unleavened Bread." In the days when Israelites lived in slavery in Egypt, Moses was sent to Egypt to tell Pharaoh, king of Egypt, "Let my people go." When Pharaoh would not let Israel go, nine plagues were sent against the Egyptians, but still Pharaoh was stubborn. Moses prophesied that one more plague would be sent; that on midnight every first-born in Egypt would be struck down. Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and instructed them to slaughter lambs as an offering. Moses directed them to apply lamb's blood to their doorposts so that death would "pass over" their homes

McGillis Celebration

We celebrate by holding a Freedom Seder, which focuses on slavery, oppression, and redemption. These stories come from around the world and from many cultures.

The McGillis Freedom Seder celebration features some traditional Passover foods. We sing both Passover songs and songs of freedom, such as Spiriturals, and songs of freedom from other cultures.

McGillis schedules Spring Break to correspond with the Passover Holiday.

Traditional Celebration

On the first and second evenings of Passover, Jewish families will commemorate the story of the Israelites' Exodus from Egypt. Families will participate in the Passover seder (meal that follows a specific order of readings and rituals) and read from the haggadah ("the telling" of the story of Exodus). The central meanings of Passover -- freedom, liberation, rebirth and hope – are emphasized. The seder plate, filled with ritual foods that are reminders of various themes and symbols of the Exodus story has a prominent place at the Passover table. Matzah, or unleavened flat bread, is eaten during these seven days to serve as a reminder of the bread that the Israelites ate when they fled Egypt. Tradition tells us that due to the quick nature of the Israelites departure, their bread did not have a chance to rise. Many families will remove all traces of leavening in their homes to prepare for Passover. All food with traces of bread or rising agents are removed – refrigerators are cleaned, cars are vacuumed – a thorough 'spring cleaning' is traditionally done this time of year.