Happy Passover from Heilicher

Happy Passover from Heilicher

Passover or Pesah/פסח, is the Jewish Holiday celebrating the Israelites freedom from slavery circa 1250 BCE. The Torah describes Pesah as the Holiday of Matzah/חג המצות and the rabbis call it The Spring Holiday/חג האביב. Customs of the holiday include a festive meal, called a "seder/סדר", that consists of 14 parts meant to inspire questions and participation from children while having all participants "view themselves as if they were freed from Egypt" (Mishna Pesahim 10:5/משנה פסחים י:ה and the Pesah haggadah/פסח הגדה). Additionally, we refrain from owning and eating leavened items throughout the entire holiday. Click here for more information.

In recent weeks, students and faculty have been learning about Pesah, its history, rituals and customs and looking for new ideas to bring to our sederim. One idea that has come up is related to the idea of symbols. Everything in the seder, is meant to symbolize an element of the story of Passover. From the bitter herb and salt water representing the bitterness and tears of slavery, to the 4 cups of wine representing our celebration of personal and communal freedom, symbolism is at the heart of our Pesah celebrations. Students have engaged in opportunities to learn about others' family rituals and customs that help symbolize the transition from slavery to freedom. In both 6th and 7th grade this week, we engaged in Torah Yoga (Experiencing Jewish Wisdom Through Classic Postures by Diane Bloomfield) and experiencing our own physical, mental and spiritual release from tension, pain and suffering to release, free-flow and openness.

During your seder, we invite you to ask each other about your personal Egypt - what in your life is constricting? And discuss what you do to "view yourself as if you were freed from Egypt" - how do you release the tension?

Wishing you a very Happy and Healthy Pesah,

חג כשר ושמח!
Etan Dov Weiss
Director of Jewish Life and Hebrew

  • Holidays
  • Judaic Studies

More Posts

The most popular person at school may not be who you think it is!

The principle of sh’mirat haguf (safeguarding the body) underscores the importance of holistic care for both the mind and the body. The progression of the role and responsibilities of school nurses, especially here at Heilicher, exemplifies our collective commitment to promoting comprehensive well-being. It aligns with the concept of sh’mirat haguf by ensuring our educational practices encompass the nurturing of both mental and physical health.

Transitioning from the past, when a visit to the school nurse often entailed receiving minor first aid or a call home, the scope of the school nurse’s role has significantly broadened.

Students sit on carpet, listening to teacher

One of our greatest strengths has been our ability to create a safe and secure space for our students and faculty as tensions rise worldwide in response to the Israel-Hamas conflict. 

These events have sparked widespread concerns about the safety and well-being of Jewish students who may face bigotry and threats of physical harm. In response to these challenges, I want to share my perspective and our efforts here at Heilicher.