Passover begins: How a Fresno temple is honoring the holiday

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Thursday, April 6, 2023
Passover begins: How a local temple is honoring the holiday
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The Temple Beth Israel in Fresno is gearing up to celebrate a tradition that dates back over 3,000 years.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Temple Beth Israel in Fresno is gearing up to celebrate a tradition that dates back over 3,000 years.

In its early years, the Passover Seder celebrated the beginning of spring and the future harvest.

In the last 1,800 years, the holiday has been an opportunity for families to gather around the table to share a meal and the story of how Jewish people were liberated from slavery in Egypt, according to the Biblical story of Exodus.

"It really is supposed to sensitize us to reliving the exodus to freedom and therefore not just appreciating the freedoms that we have but also hopefully looking around us to see those who are not yet fully free," says Rabbi Rick Winer, who works behind the scenes to prepare for the holiday.

A big part of the tradition of Passover are the foods including Kosher Matzah bread and wine.

Renee Godinez is the Temple Administrator and uses her background in archaeology to help teach the history of the bread, which is unleavened and doesn't rise because it wasn't made with yeast

"The story is we left so quickly they didn't have time to cook it or ferment it. We left as quickly as possible," Godinez said.

For Godinez, Passover means spending time with loved ones.

"Passover happens to be one of my favorite holidays. And I think it has to do with family and community and celebrating freedom from slavery but it's also our personal freedoms that we get to think about and how we want to better ourselves," said Godinez.

"We throughout our Passover Seder talk about not just slavery but marginalized and how we can better respond to any of those who are in any way vulnerable," added Rabbi Rick.

Passover is typically observed for 7 or 8 days depending on what tradition you follow.

However, the meaning behind it is remembered all year long.

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