YM&YWHA of Washington Heights & Inwood

Celebration of Freedom at the Y

The official date for Passover, a seven-day festival, is March 25, and Jewish families everywhere are preparing for this important holiday commemorating the story of Exodus.

In that story, ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt, and Passover celebrates and remembers this liberation.

With Passover being one of the most celebrated Jewish holidays both in the US and abroad, the holiday marks its importance in Jewish culture and identity.

The Y joined families as they prepare for Passover by offering a Passover Workshop where families and children came together to create a Seder plate, eat holiday foods, and learn more about the holiday itself.

 “ Children created colorful seder plates, learned the names of its contents in Hebrew, drank four glasses of grape juice for various reasons, such as for a joyful afternoon, for the gratitude of the creativeness we share;  had some symbolic food with cultural interpretations in addition to the traditional ones. We substituted chocolate eggs for the hard boiled ones to the children’s delight and enjoyed the Haroset which can be viewed as a symbol of the variety of values which connect people of different cultures, and allow us to live as a society”, explains Tamar Matza, the Y Hebrew Teacher.

One of the symbols of Passover is the seder, a plate containing symbolic foods linked to the Jewish journey through Exodus. As children and their families created their seder plate, Tamar Matza explored the meaning of each item on the plate.

“ Each seder plate is the same, yet the families themselves make it different.The Seder plate contains foods that traditionally symbolize different values and episodes of the story, and they  can be recognized by many as the values which are universal and valuable to all people in all societies: Freedom and peace”, says Tamar.  “The bitter herbs and the salt water in which a green vegetable is dipped, remembering the tears and bitterness during the enslavement in Egypt, was extended to the bitterness that exists whenever anyone, anywhere in our world has no freedom” .

The Y continues its celebration with the special Passover lunch at the Center for Adults Living Well  on Wednesday, March 20.

By David Huggins

About the Y
Established in 1917, the YM&YWHA of Washington Heights & Inwood (the Y) is Northern Manhattan’s premier Jewish community center — serving an ethnically and socio-economically diverse constituency — improving the quality of life for people of all ages through critical social services and innovative programs in health, wellness, education, and social justice, while promoting diversity and inclusion, and caring for those in need.

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