WEST PASCO — Passover is the festival of liberation.
"It celebrates a great historical event: the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt," said Rabbi Yossi Eber. "However, that freedom was not won once and for all. It needs constant guarding."
Eber added that Passover is an ongoing process of self-liberation, and the festival and its practices are symbols of a struggle that is constantly renewed.
Beginning April 19 and continuing through April 27, Jews around the world will be celebrating Passover.
First, each house must be cleansed of the Chametz: anything with leavening, such as wheat, barley, rye or oats which has risen or fermented.
In Exodus 13:3-7 it says that "no leaven shall be eaten...for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread . . . and no leaven shall be seen in your possession."
The Israelites ate matza, a flat, tasteless bread, the bread of surrender, as they fled Egypt and followed Jehovah into the desert. Jews celebrate the Passover with the reading of the Haggadah, the story of the Exodus, and they partake of a meal, the Passover seder.
At the seder table will be found the matza, zeroah (roasted lamb shank bone), maror (bitter herbs usually horseradish or romaine lettuce), beitzoh (hardboiled egg), charoses (a mixture of apples, nuts and wine), karpas ( a vegetable) salted water and wine.
Several seders are being offered in Pasco County.
• Temple Beth David will have a Passover seder at 6:30 p.m. April 20 at Wellington Country Club in Spring Hill. Rabbi David Leven will lead the Haggadah service. Cost is $19.95 for adult members, $7.50 for member children age 12 and under and $22.95 for non member adults and $9.59 for their children. Call (352) 686-7034.
• Jewish Community Center of West Pasco, home of Congregation Beth Tefiliah, will host a seder at 7 p.m. April 20 at 9341 Scenic Drive, Port Richey. Cost is $30 for members and $15 for children ages 5-12. Children under age 5 are free. Cost for nonmembers is $35. Call (727) 8478814.
• Beth El Shalom Messianic Congregation, 6209 Congress St., New Port Richey will have a seder at 5 p.m. April 19. All the food items will be available to taste, except there will not be a full dinner. Admission is free, but pre-registration is required. Call (727) 375-7502.
• Congregation B'nai Emmunah will have a Second Night seder on April 20 at the Golda Meir/Kent Jewish Center. Call (727) 736-1494 for reservations. Rabbi Shimon Moch will lead the seder.
• The Chabad Jewish Center of West Pasco will celebrate Passover on April 19 and 20. For reservations call (727) 376-3366.
• Shoresh David Messianic Synagogue: Passover will be celebrated at 4 p.m. April 20 at Embassy Suites, 513 S. Florida Ave., Tampa. For reservations call (813) 831-85673. Cost is $35 for adults, $20 for children 12 and under and includes the seder, dance presentation and the reading of the Haggadah.