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Model Seder Recounts Jews’ Exodus From Ancient Egypt

March 22, 2018
Members of the Hebrew nation (what would become the Jewish faith) fled ancient Egypt under the leadership of Moses so quickly, there was no time for their bread to rise.

To this day, during the annual seven- to eight-day celebration of Passover, Jewish people around the world eat only unleavened bread to commemorate their ancestors’ flight to freedom.

Rabbi Robert S. Goldstein, of Temple Emanuel in Andover, Massachusetts, led nearly two dozen students and faculty through a model seder March 20, explaining each of the rich details woven into the ritualistic meal that is celebrated twice during Passover. The annual event is organized by the Center for the Study of Jewish-Christian-Muslim Relations.

During Passover, celebrated this year from March 30 to April 7, Jews recall the Israelites’ liberation by God from slavery in ancient Egypt at what many scholars say was around 1300 BCE.

“Passover, more than anything else, is a holiday about immigration,” Goldstein said. “We remember what it was like to be slaves, and we remember those who have not achieved their freedom.”

The seder meal also holds Messianic overtones since members of the Jewish faith do not accept Jesus as the messiah and are thus still awaiting the Savior. The meal includes a glass of wine for the prophet Elijah, who will herald the coming of the messiah.

Caitlin Whitman ’21, a business major from Mansfield, Massachusetts, attended the model seder as part of her Christianity class. “It was cool to see what a different religion does as a ceremony, or form of worship,” Whitman said.

Michaelanthony Ruotolo ’21, a communication major from Stoneham, Massachusetts, said he enjoyed Goldstein’s knowledge of his faith and the way he shared it with others.

“It was insightful to see a culture that I wasn’t brought up in,” Ruiotolo said.

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  • The Passover seder plate, comprising food items that help retell the story of the Jews' exodus from ancient Egypt.
    The Passover seder plate, comprising food items that help retell the story of the Jews' exodus from ancient Egypt.

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