Many Local Jews Spending First Night of Passover With Family and Friends

March 25, 2013 Updated Mar 25, 2013 at 7:58 PM EDT

By WKBW Admin

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March 25, 2013 Updated Mar 25, 2013 at 7:58 PM EDT

Many local families observe the Passover with different customs and traditions. The Halpern family, of Amherst, is having relatives from both near and far over for a Passover dinner and a service called a "Seder".

"It's the story of after hundreds of years of Egyptian slavery, our people were redeemed and brought to freedom, " said Rabbi Gary Pokrus of Temple Beth Zion in Amherst.

The Seder is celebrated with a big feast of delicious food and symbolic messages.

One of the cornerstones is the Matzah, or unleavened bread, which Jews are commanded to eat to help understand what it was like for those escaping slavery.

"What the former slaves did was basically attach dough to their backs and started walking and it baked in the sun without rising, " said Rabbi Pokrus.

According to Jewish law, those observing are forbidden from eating yeast products for the next 8 days.

On Monday, many, including the Halpern family, hid small bags of bread crumbs around the house. It is the tradition for children to search for the bags and then burn them, symbolizing the beginning of the holiday.

Once the home is clear, it is time to begin preparing the big meal.

At the Halpern household on Monday night, 16 people will be sitting around the table enjoying each other's company and the Passover traditions they hold so dear.