Passover Israeli Style - The Countdown Begins.
Rachel Rose Shalev
In Israel, Passover is one of those great time markers ... things that happen before Passover and things that happen after....Passover always falls on the 15-22 of the Lunar month of Nissan. In 2017, that means April 11th through the 18th, with the holiday beginning sunset the night before, on April 10th.The great countdown to Passover starts after the Holiday of Purim, when the Book of Esther is read. After the rains of Purim, Spring Cleaning begins in anticipation of Passover, a holiday of Freedom, in which the home is traditionally rid of all leavened products. This riddance of the leavened foods is a remembrance of the quick escape from Egypt. The story is retold in Exodus Chapters 1-15. It is told that in the quick escape from slavery of Egypt, the Israelites did not have time to let the yeast rise in their bread. And so was born Matzah! That large flat cracker which is met with many mixed feelings among Jews world wide. Ground into meal it gives us the wonderful matzah balls or "kneidlach" which are added to chicken soup, but stand alone as a large cracker, you'll get many opinions! The riddance of yeast products is extended to the 5 major grains: wheat, rye, barley, oats and spelt.
In more traditional homes, a whole separate set of dishes, pots and utensils is reserved for Passover, lest they be tainted by the bread products.
Whether you are traditional or not, there is no doubt that in Israel, Passover marks the end of Winter and the beginning of the beautiful weather that Israel is famous for. The birds are chirping and the sun is shining. The days are longer and the sea is warmer. Spring break - semester break - holidays from work - they all center around the week long holiday of Passover. It is also a famously crowded time at the airports as Israelis leave in droves for destinations galore. (Personally, it has always made me laugh that Israeli's go to the Sinai desert during Passover. Aren't we supposed to be celebrating the exodus from Egypt??). Educational institutes are closed for almost a week before and after Passover, making for quite a spring break! One of the more interesting phenomena around Passover in Israel is how many families simply close up their home and head for hotels. For those to whom it matters, the stress of ridding the household of any semblance of crumbs and changing over their kitchen to Kosher for Passover food only, the trip to the kosher hotels is well worth the expense. In fact, Jews from around the world make their way to Israel for Passover, since so much Kosher for Passover food and restaurants are available here. The Jewish Festivals - in Israel and everywhere - are measured on the Lunar Calendar as opposed to the secular standard Solar Calendar. The Solar Calendar measures the earth's rotation around the sun (365 days) whereas the Lunar Calendar measures the moons' rotation around the earth (354 days). This accounts for a favorite question in Israel... "When does Passover fall this year?" There's so much to say about this beloved Holiday. Whether you are traditional or not, Passover marks a time of renewal and Freedom. Next episode - The Passover SederAnd in the meantime, browse for Passover cookbooks here.
Shop for Kosher for Passover food here.
Read more about Passover here.Shop for Passover Gifts Here!
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