Passover, the commemoration of the Old Testament story of the deliverance of the ancient Hebrews from slavery in Egypt, begins at sundown on Wednesday, April 8.
This year’s observance will be especially poignant, both because of social distancing and the coronavirus pandemic’s echo of the Biblical story.
According to the book of Exodus, God brought 10 plagues to the land of Egypt that ultimately persuaded the pharaoh to agree to Moses’ demand: “Let my people go.”
Jews in San Diego will gather — via Zoom — for a ritual meal called a Seder, which means order. It features six symbolic foods, including matzah, a cracker-like unleavened bread symbolizing the exodus from ancient Egypt when there was not enough time to let the bread rise.
During the Seder, people drink four cups of wine, symbolizing the promises that God made to the Israelites, including deliverance from bondage.
On Sunday, Christians in San Diego will celebrate Easter, with online services offered by many congregations. In fact, the two holidays are always entwined for historical reasons.
Easter was originally celebrated on the first Sunday following Passover. The Christian Council of Nicaea in 325 officially separated Easter from the Jewish calendar, but in practice, the dates remain associated by the way they are calculated.
The Christian holiday has come to be the first Sunday after the full moon that occurs on or soonest after the March equinox. Passover occurs on the first full moon in the spring under the Jewish calendar.
Times of San Diego wishes San Diego’s Jews a happy Passover and Christians a happy Easter in this difficult time.
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