About the event
Passover, or Pesach, is an important Jewish holiday that commemorates the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and from slavery. It occurs on the 15th day of Nissan, the first Hebrew month of spring.
The celebration centres on Passover Seder, a big family or community feast on the day of the 15th. At the feast, the Haggadah (the story of the exodus from Egypt) is told.
To punish the Egyptians for their slavery of the Israilites, God was said to inflict 10 plagues, the last of which was the death of every Egyptian first-born son. To ensure the Angel of Death passed over Jewish homes, God commanded all Jewish families to paint the blood of a lamb over their doors. This saved them and led to the Pharoah releasing the Israelites from slavery.
How to approach it
Use passover as an opportunity to introduce students to Jewish culture. Tell the story of the Haggadah and ask students to think through its significance for Jewish people. Discuss the key elements of Passover Seder: what rituals are there, what is said, what is eaten. You could show videos or pictures of what the passover meal looks like. If you have Jewish students that are confident enough, allow them to share their experience of passover with the class. Talk about the significance of cultural heritage. Once students have an understanding of what Passover means for Jewish people ask them what they or other cultures do to remember their collective histories. You could look at the Mexican Day of the Dead, Remembrance Day or different countries' independance days.
The Haggadah tells the story of how the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt. Today Jewish people trace their ancestry and culture back to this time. Every year they gather to remember this key moment in their collective history. What do you know about the history of your family or culture? What events do you take part in that helps you think about your ancestors and their history?