Passover begins at sundown on April 23. Jewish people often refer to Passover by its Hebrew pronunciation, Pesach (pay-sockh), and it is also known as the Feast of Redemption.
Passover commemorates the Exodus from slavery in Egypt, and is named after the paschal lamb. It was the blood of that lamb on the doorposts that caused the plague of death to pass over those homes, sparing those who had faithfully followed God's instructions concerning the lamb.
Some also refer to Passover as the Feast of Unleavened Bread, since God commanded that no leaven be eaten during the seven days immediately following Passover. In Leviticus 23:5,6 a distinction is made between the Lord's Passover at sundown the 14th day of Nisan, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which begins on the 15th and lasts for a week.
It is entirely appropriate to send your Jewish friends a Passover greeting card just before or during the eight day period of no leaven, beginning on April 23.
Most Jewish people will have a family celebration called a seder (pronounced say-dur) on the evening of April 23 or 24. The seder is a ritual meal incorporating various pieces of food and liturgy to help recount the story of Passover. Jesus was participating in a Passover seder when He had what is commonly referred to as the Last Supper." It was during the seder that He identified His body and blood with the bread and the cup, which are traditionally linked with the body and blood of the Passover lamb.
The actual meal portion of the seder is a wonderful spread that often begins with matzo ball soup. The soup is traditionally chicken soup, and the matzo balls are dumplings made without leaven. Matzo balls are also known as knaidlach (pronounced k'nayd-lackh). To make your own matzo balls, try the recipe below, taken from page 166 of The Jews for Jesus Family Cookbook, by Melissa Moskowitz:
Matzo Ball Soup
- 6 eggs, separated
- 1 teaspoon salt
- a pinch of pepper (1/8 teaspoon if you are not a pincher)
- 2 tablespoons melted chicken fat (or margarine if you are squeamish about that sort of thing)
- 1 cup matzo meal
Beat egg whites until stiff. Beat egg yolks separately until light. Add salt, pepper and melted fat to yolks; fold gently into egg whites. Fold in matzo meal one spoonful at a time. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Moisten hands and form batter into walnut-sized balls. Drop into large pot of rapidly boiling chicken soup or water. Reduce heat and cook slowly, covered, for 30 minutes. Makes 12 servings.