SALT LAKE CITY — The Jewish holiday of Passover began Friday evening at sundown. One young rabbi and his wife recently created a special workshop for the children in their congregation to teach them why their families do what they do.
Rabbi Avremi Zippel and his wife, Sheina, welcomed dozens of children, from the very young to teenagers, and their parents to Chabad Lubavitch of Utah to have fun and learn of their heritage.
They called it a Passover prep party and began with the making of matzah or unleavened bread. Everyone donned aprons and baker’s caps.
With a countdown from 10, two volunteers combined the flour and the water. In Jewish law, from that point, the entire process must move quickly. Sheina instructs them, “You can start rolling that out. We only have 18 minutes!”
Rabbi Zippel said, “God tells us that the primary reason for which we celebrate Passover is for future generations of the Jewish people to know the miracles that he performed for us when he took the Jewish people out of Egypt.”
They believe that when Moses led the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt, they left so quickly that their bread did not have time to rise. So making matzah is considered a sacred process, and poking holes in the dough is part of that.
Kira Lessnick, one of the participants, said, "At my house, we don’t have a hot enough oven to make it, so when we found out about this, we decided we would come and make matzah.”
Altogether they followed the rabbi and carried their dough to the oven. Their oven is not as hot as the professional matzah bakers, whose ovens reach 2,000 degrees.
Minutes later, Sheina removed the first Matzah. The young man carried it away in his cap.
Kate Dastrup told us, "And we made it some crazy shape, and then we just put it in the oven.”
Asked if she was having a good time, she replied with a big smile.
Next came the arts and crafts. The participants had three options.
God tells us that the primary reason for which we celebrate Passover is for future generations of the Jewish people to know the miracles that he performed for us when he took the Jewish people out of Egypt.
–Rabbi Avremi Zippel
Coloring the paper representations of food and gluing them to a Seder plate helps them remember what goes where when it comes to the real meal.
Another group created bead-encrusted pouches for a Passover game.
Jade Goldklang explained, "Then you hide half of the matzah in the little bag and if someone finds it, then you get a prize, and we’re making the bags for it.”
Some of the children built and painted Seder trays that have several levels to hold the matzah.
Geoffrey Fisher said, “We’ll take it home and use it on our table eventually, maybe even this year.”
“Then you want to take a piece of lettuce and put it smack in the middle of your Seder plate,” the rabbi instructed, as the children moved to specially prepared Seder tables. This meal takes place at sundown on the first day. There are many rituals, 15 steps actually, that all Jewish children learn. Here they were practicing.
Seth Goldklang shared, "Well, Passover is special to me because it was my uncle’s favorite holiday.”
Growing up Jewish in Utah, the rabbi says, means these children need community support to live their faith.
Rabbi Zippel said, "When you actually get involved in these events where you feel unique and you feel proud to be a Jew and you feel part of a wider picture, you feel part of a wider religion. That, I believe, gives children very, very important foundations.”
So when the children celebrate Passover, they will participate, they will understand and, most importantly, their parents say, they will someday teach their own children.
The observance of Passover lasts from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, April 11.