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With a Rise in Antisemitism, Many More Expected to Celebrate the Seder

By Rabbi Moishe Kievman Chabad Chayil

April 18, 2024

The eight-day festival of Passover is celebrated this year from sundown on Monday evening, April 22, 2024, until after nightfall on Tuesday, April 30, 2024, with its highlight, the festive “Seder” dinners on the first 2 nights of the holiday. The festival of Passover commemorates the freedom of the Jewish nation from enslavement in Ancient Egypt, some 3336 years ago, in 1313 BCE. After many decades of slavery to the Egyptian pharaohs, G‑d sent Moses to Pharaoh with a message to: “Let My People Go.” When Moses’ warnings were dismissed, G‑d sent upon Egypt ten plagues, the last one being the killing of the Egyptian firstborn while “passing over” the Jewish homes—hence the name of the holiday.

To commemorate the unleavened bread that we ate when we left Egypt, we don’t eat—or even retain in our possession—any leavened grains known as chametz during the holiday. Chametz includes any food or drink that contains even a trace of wheat, barley, rye, oats, spelt or their derivatives, and which wasn’t guarded from leavening or fermentation. Instead, we eat matzah—flat unleavened bread, at least for the two Seder nights, when it's a Mitzvah (biblical commandment).

Our Rabbis explain that chametz is symbolic of haughtiness and egotism - traits so harmful that they are at the root of all negative traits. This is one of the reasons why even the most miniscule amount of chametz is forbidden - for these negative traits must be completely nullified.

Few Jewish holidays evoke the same warm sentiments as Passover. Memories of family and friends gathered as the four cups of wine are poured, the four questions asked and the Matzah served, all contribute to Passover’s popularity in the Jewish community. Bringing the warmth and tradition of this festival to every major city in the world, Chabad is inviting all Jewish residents and visitors to participate in Community Seders to be held on April 22nd and 23rd at locations throughout South Florida.

This year’s observance will be even more celebrated, as is always the case when there’s Antisemitism. Since the attacks on Simchat Torah (Oct 7) in Israel and on college campuses around the world, more and more Jews who were for whatever reason not affiliated, started coming closer to their heritage and began celebrating more. When a Jew is attacked simply because they are Jewish, they want to know more about what it means to actually live like a Jew.

The Passover Seder is a feast that includes reading the Haggada, drinking wine, telling stories, eating special foods, singing, and other Passover traditions. The central observance of Passover—eating matzah, the unleavened bread—will take center stage at the Seder, with handmade round shmurah matzah, “The Rolls-Royce of matzah,” available to all.

The Seders take participants through the wondrous liberation of our ancestors from Egyptian bondage, while sharing the relevance and beauty of the age-old festival in our modern lives. Included in the Seder will be a delectable catered dinner paired with a variety of fine imported wines and handmade round 'Shmurah' Matzah.

Passover is not simply a celebration of the historic liberation of an ancient people. Passover is about our own personal liberation – physically, emotionally and spiritually, a message that rings true this year perhaps more than ever before in our lifetimes as we still face the challenges of the pandemic. Passover inspires us to break free from the shackles restraining us from reaching new heights – in our lives, relationships and connection with G-d.

Chabad's community seder is part of a global Passover campaign that began in 1954, when the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, launched the Shmurah Matzah initiative. This year, over 700,000 people will participate at Seder at over 4,000 Chabad Centers throughout the world and an estimated four million hand-baked Shmurah Matzahs will be distributed.

We encourage you to contact your local Chabad or Synagogue to join the Seder nearest you. You are of course welcome to join my wife and I at our Seder in Highland Lakes, together with our family and community. To learn more about the holiday, order a ready-made fully-prepared Seder plate, Shmura Matzah, RSVP for the seder or need help selling your Chametz, call: (305) 770-1919. Or visit: - where you can also download for free a beautiful brand new Haggadah with easy to understand explanations.

The Author
Rabbi Kievman together with his wife are the ambassadors of The Rebbe to Highland Lakes, FL. They are the founders of Gan Chabad Preschool, your local CTeen & CKids chapters, CHAP - an afterschool program for Jewish children in Public Schools and direct Chabad Chayil. He’s the Rabbi at The Family Shul and can be reached at: (305) 770-1919. Or:

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