Jews Worldwide Observe Passover Amid Somber Mood in 2024

In 2024, Jews observe a somber Passover amid the Israel-Hamas war and rising antisemitism, with empty seats at Seder tables, yet finding hope in the holiday's themes of resilience and freedom.

Ebenezer Mensah
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Jews Worldwide Observe Passover Amid Somber Mood in 2024

Jews Worldwide Observe Passover Amid Somber Mood in 2024

In 2024, Jews around the world are observing Passover, the most celebrated holiday in the Jewish faith, which commemorates the ancient Hebrews' exodus from slavery in Egypt. The holiday, known as Pesach in Hebrew, will begin at sundown on April 22 and will end after nightfall on April 30 in the United States. Passover is based on the Hebrew lunar-based calendar and always falls on the 15th day of the month of Nissan, the first full moon after the spring equinox.

Many Jews observe Passover by gathering for a Seder meal, where they recount the exodus story and avoid eating grains known as chametz. The Seder plate includes symbolic foods such as horseradish, parsley, and a shank bone. According to the Bible, God sent Moses to lead the Hebrews out of captivity under the Egyptian pharaohs, and when Pharaoh refused, God unleashed 10 plagues against Egypt. The New Testament states that Jesus' last supper was a Passover Seder, as he was a Jew at the time of his crucifixion.

However, the mood of this year's Passover observance is somber due to the ongoing Israel-Hamas war in Gaza and the rise of antisemitic incidents in some countries. Many Seder tables are expected to have empty seats, representing those killed or taken hostage, and there is intense concern about the recent surge in antisemitic incidents. Jewish organizations and the FBI are providing guidance on keeping the Passover season safe and secure.

Why this matters: The Passover holiday in 2024 is marked by a mix of traditional observances and heightened security concerns amid rising antisemitism and the Israel-Gaza conflict. The somber mood reflects the challenges faced by Jewish communities worldwide as they seek to observe their faith while confronting contemporary issues.

Despite the challenges, the Passover Seder is meant to help Jews relive past slavery and liberation, and generate hope for the future. The violence and rise in antisemitism have been difficult, especially for American Jews who feel abandoned by their allies. Jewish Federations are organizing interfaith Seders as opportunities for deeper conversation with neighbors, focusing on themes of resilience, strength, freedom, and triumph over adversity. "The Passover story and its themes of oppression and freedom are seen as a time to reflect on what is broken in the world and what can be done to repair it, with a hope for a just world and peace for Israelis and Palestinians," said a representative from a Jewish organization.

Key Takeaways

  • Passover 2024 observance marked by somber mood due to Israel-Hamas war and antisemitism.
  • Seder tables expected to have empty seats representing those killed or taken hostage.
  • Jewish organizations and FBI providing guidance to keep Passover season safe and secure.
  • Passover Seder helps Jews reflect on past slavery and liberation, generating hope for future.
  • Jewish Federations organizing interfaith Seders to promote resilience, freedom, and peace.