Passover is a religious holiday that is celebrated worldwide by Jews for eight days. Many Jews prepare for the holiday by cleaning their home and ensuring everything, especially items in the kitchen are tidy. This ensures that we don’t leave any traces of “chametz” , which may be crumbs or foods that contain ingredients that we aren’t allowed to eat on Passover. Chametz more specifically refers to foods that contain wheat, barley, rye, oats and spelt. This includes crackers, bread, pretzels, cookies, and spaghetti. We refrain from eating and usually substitute it with items that are Kosher for Passover. Matzah is a very popular thin piece of unleavened bread that is often eaten or incorporated into many of the dishes we eat.
Passover started as a holiday set up to remember our liberation from Egyptian enslavement. Moses is an important prophet, who according to biblical teachings in the Torah, was sent a message from God to go and free his kin in Egypt. The Pharaoh enslaved the Jews due to his fear of their ever-growing population and made them do hard labor. Jews were able to escape, being led by Moses, but he told them that they wouldn’t be able to carry their “lumps of dough. Moses had reminded his people that they had to leave in a hurry, and that their bread dough would not have time to rise. They were therefore told to make 'unleavened' bread (bread made without yeast).” They were able to escape across the Red Sea, in which the sea parted and they were able to walk through safely. However, the Pharaoh's army that tried to chase after was killed due to the Sea returning back to its original form.
Depending on how religious or orthodox your family is, there are more rules and regulations you may follow. Some nonreligious Jews are grateful that they have bread today and would rather celebrate its presence then abstain from eating it for the week. Other individuals follow The Seder, which is “no ordinary holiday meal – there is a specific set of tasks that must be completed and information that must be covered in a specific order”
Passover is a holiday that is a part of many Madison students' lives as well as my own. Throughout history there has been constant oppression of Jews, limiting their ability to celebrate holidays that are an essential part of their religion. The Soviet Union restricted many families including my own two parents, not allowing them to practice what they believe in as well as minimizing their religious freedoms. Today in America, we are able to celebrate due to our First Amendment right, more specifically the Free Exercise Clause. This means congress can't make any law prohibiting the free exercise of religion, and it has to have a strong reason to refuse to tolerate religiously motivated activity.