Ranch Reflections are articles written by LRHS students and staff who want to share their experiences, thoughts, and concerns. This is a great opportunity for Mustangs to branch out beyond traditional news stories.  This edition features an LRHS student’s appreciation for Jewish Passover traditions. Passover ends April 13.

Nathan Albert – Special to Mustangs Ahead

(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL) – Passover is the Jewish holiday that marks the story described in the Book of Exodus, in which Moses led the Jewish people out of Egyptian slavery and into the promised land.

In the story, God brought 10 plagues upon the Egyptians until the Pharaoh agreed to Moses’s plea of “Let my people go.” 

The final plague was the killing of all the first-born sons of Egypt. The name “Passover” comes from the belief that the Angel of Deathpassed over the non-Egyptian homes during the plague. 

This plague finally broke the Pharaoh’s stubbornness, and he allowed the Jewish people to leave the land. The Jews then hastily left Egypt for the Holy Land.

They left so quickly that they didn’t have enough time to bake bread for the journey, so they brought along unleavened loafs called Matzoh. Matzoh is one of the many foods Jews still eat today during Passover and is one of the staples of a Passover Seder.

 A Seder is the ritual feast at the beginning of the holiday. In Hebrew it means “order” because there is a certain order to the meal. 

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The meal begins with everyone taking turns reading the story of Passover from a small book called the “Haggadah.” The word Haggadah in Hebrew means “the telling” because when reading it, you are telling the story of Passover.

Many foods eaten at the Seder represent different aspects of the story. These symbolic foods are arranged on a decorative plate called the Seder Plate. One of those foods is bitter herbs, which represents the lives of the Jewish slaves being embittered by the Egyptians.

Passover lasts for eight days in which religious Jews abstain from eating anything leavened in order to remember their ancestors who had to eat Matzoh when fleeing Egypt.

For me, Passover isn’t just a holiday to ignore bread for over a week, it’s also a time to spend with my family and celebrate the freedom and survival of my people.