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The name “Passover” derives from Moses’ promise that God would “pass over” the homes of Israelites on the evening when firstborn Egyptians were to be slain (Exodus 12:23). Reform Jews celebrate Passover for seven days.

One of the major elements of Passover is the seder (meaning “order”), a ritual dinner with a prescribed order of prayers, readings and songs that are found in a special book called the Haggadah. Another of the major traditions during Passover is a prohibition against eating chameitz, leavened foods made of wheat, oats, barley, rye and spelt (as well as rice, corn, peas, beans and peanuts in the Ashkenazic tradition). In place of chameitz, Jews are commanded to eat matzah during Passover — an unleavened product of the five grains — which serves as both a reminder of the haste in which the Jews left Egypt (having no time to bake leavened bread) and as a symbol of oppression because it was the food eaten by Jewish slaves.

Worship services may be heard via live audio stream on the Emanu-El website, through the Emanu-El audio player after completion of the live service, or as podcasts. (MP3 files are available for one week after the service.)

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