In 2023, Passover begins the evening of Wednesday, April 5, and ends on the evening of Thursday, April 13.
(This corresponds to the 15th through 22nd of the Hebrew month Nisan.) However, in Israel as well as in many Reform Jewish communities, Passover is celebrated for seven days as opposed to eight (i.e., through the 21st of Nisan).
According to the Orthodox tradition, no work is permitted during the first two (April 6 – 7) and last two (April 12 – 13) days of Passover.
What is Passover all about?
Passover celebrates the Jewish people’s miraculous exodus from Egypt as told in the Biblical book of Exodus. Its name comes from the story of the tenth plague (the death of the firstborn), which passed over the Israelites’ houses, sparing their children.
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks explained the rationale of Passover this way: “The journey from slavery to freedom is one we need to travel in every generation. So we were commanded to gather our families together every year at this time and tell the story of what it was like to be a slave and what it felt like to go free.”
The Passover story is told and even reenacted at the seder, the traditional Passover dinner. For example, bitter herbs are eaten so as to “taste” the bitterness the Israelites endured as slaves. With its central theme of redemption, Passover is a time not only for Jews to connect with their own history, but also to be mindful of the suffering of others and those who are oppressed today. At the seder, many Jews draw attention to present-day issues of justice (in and out of the Jewish community) with the hope that all people will find freedom.
Read our Passover holiday guide here.
Originally Published Mar 8, 2022 12:01AM EST