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Passover marks the exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt, from slavery to freedom. Jews are commanded to tell the story of Passover as if it had happened to them personally and not as a mere historical event, to emphasize the importance of our freedom.​​


Passover  begins this year between in Israel at sunset on Wednesday 8 April and ends at sunset on Wednesday 15 April 2019. The first and last days of Passover are legal holidays in Israel. Passover marks the exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt, from slavery to freedom. Jews are commanded to tell the story as if it had happened to them personally and not as a mere historical event, in order to emphasize the importance of our hard-won and precious freedom. 


This year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, many people may not be able to celebrate the Passover seder with all their loved ones. We invite you to join us virtually and participate in our Facebook Live Seder held by Israel’s Ambassador to Romania David Saranga.​​​





Preparations for Passover

The period preceding Passover is marked by extensive preparations and several special ceremonies. The most important of these concerns the removal of hametz, i.e. any food product that contains leavened wheat, oat, barley, rye, or spelt products. In keeping with the Biblical command in Exodus 12:19 and 13:7, Jews will, before Passover, thoroughly clean their homes to remove any crumbs or bits of food, etc. that may be hametz. This cleaning culminates in a ritual candlelight search for hametz in one's home, accompanied by a special blessing and the renunciation of formal ownership over any remaining hametz. The hametz collected during the search is then burned on the morning before Passover. It is also customary to sell one's hametz to a non-Jew – usually by authorizing a rabbi to act as an agent for the sale – as a supplementary measure. While certain types of dishes and utensils can be made kosher for Passover, many Jews will have separate sets of dishes and utensils solely for use during Passover.

In the absence of leaven, Jews will eat specially prepared unleavened bread, or matzah, on Passover. Many Jews will also eat products made with matzah "flour" – unleavened bread that has been finely ground. Matzah dates back to the Exodus, where the Jews, not having had time to wait for dough to rise before leaving Egypt, journeyed into the desert with unleavened bread.

First-born males over 13 are required to fast on the day before Passover – in commemoration of the fact that first-born Jewish males were spared when first-born Egyptian males were killed during the tenth plague – but may be released of this obligation by participating in a special festive meal, such as accompanies the conclusion of study of a tractate of the Talmud or a circumcision, on the morning before Passover.



The Sabbath before Passover – 4 April this year – is known as “the Great Sabbath,” and is marked by a special reading from Malachi 3:4-24. In the afternoon, it is traditional for rabbis to give special sermons, usually on the laws associated with Passover.

The Seder and the First Day of Passover

On the evening of Wednesday 8 April, after festive evening prayers, families will eat a special ceremonial meal known as the seder, which commemorates the Exodus from Egypt. The guide for the seder is detailed in a book known as the Haggadah, literally "narration," which relates the story of the Exodus from Egypt. A plate placed on the seder table contains several special foods: a roasted egg, symbolizing the special sacrifices which were brought in the Temple; a roasted shank bone, recalling the special Passover lamb offered and eaten in Temple times; a mixture of chopped apples, nuts, wine and cinnamon known as haroset, symbolizing the mortar that the Hebrew slaves in Egypt used to make bricks; sprigs of parsley and lettuce, symbolizing spring; a bitter herb symbolizing the bitterness of slavery; and salt water, recalling the tears shed by the Hebrew slaves in Egypt. Three sheets of matzah – marking the division of the Jewish people into priests, Levites and the general population – are also placed on the table.

During the course of the seder, the Ten Plagues are recalled. When each of the Plagues is mentioned, each participant dips a finger into his/her cup of wine and removes a drop; even though the Jews were oppressed in Egypt, we are reminded that we must not rejoice over the Egyptians' suffering. Our cups of wine cannot thus be full.

One of the more popular seder customs for children concerns the afikoman, a special piece of matzah that is the last food eaten during the seder. The head of the household customarily hides the afikoman somewhere in the house, and the children then search for it. Once found, the afikoman is "ransomed," since the seder cannot continue until the afikoman is eaten. This helps to keep the children focused on the seder and to pique their curiosity regarding the entire Passover epic.


Due to the coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown in all Israeli cities, towns and villages, no synagogue services will be held this year, and individual prayers will be held in private homes. 

The Intermediate Days of Passover

The intermediate days of Passover (this year from sunset on Thursday ,9 April until sunset on Tuesday 14, April) are not full public holidays. Schools will remain closed, as will many businesses. Post offices and banks will be open, but will have reduced hours. Newspapers will be published.

Jewish tradition maintains that the parting of the Red Sea and the destruction of the Egyptian army occurred on the seventh day of Passover, but even though Passover celebrates the Exodus from Egypt, Jews nevertheless do not rejoice over the death of the Egyptians in the sea and only an abridged version of Hallel (Psalms 113-118​) – a holiday prayer – is recited after the first day of Passover. 


From the evening of Thursday 9 April, Jews will keep a nightly count of the 49 days (seven weeks), until the evening of Thursday 28 May, one day before the holiday of Shavuot. This count commemorates the Temple offering of the omer, or sheaf of new grain, in keeping with the Biblical injunction of Leviticus 23:15-16​.

The Seventh Day of Passover

The celebration of the seventh day of Passover as a full holiday is specified in Exodus 12:16 and Leviticus 23:8. This year, the seventh day begins at sunset on Tuesday,  14 April and lasts until sunset on Wednesday, 15 April. Because of coronavirus restrictins, the festive services and readings in synagogues and special memorial prayers for the departed will not be held on Wednesday morning.

Wednesday 15 April is a full public holiday, i.e. there is no public transportation or newspapers, and shops will be closed. 


Maimouna – an informal, yet widely celebrated holiday which originated among the Jews of North Africa, particularly those from Morocco – is celebrated the day after Passover or the second day after Passover if the last day of Passover falls on a Friday. Accordingly, Maimouna will be celebrated this year beginning at sunset on Thursday, 16 April and lasting until nightfall on Friday, 17 April. The majority of festivities will take place on Thursday evening, 16 April. According to custom, families prepare elaborate tables with various sweets and baked goods, and host friends and family members. Whole neighborhoods often close as celebrations spill out into the streets and parks.


This year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, many people may not be able to celebrate the Passover seder with all their loved ones. We invite you to join us virtually and participate in our Facebook Live Seder held by Israel’s Ambassador to Romania David Saranga.​


Passover in Film

Following are clips from six films (courtesy of the Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive) that depict the various ways in which Passover has been celebrated:

Ideal Travel Talks 1934 – Travelogue shot in Eretz Yisrael in 1934. The film includes rare scenes of Samaritans celebrating Passover on Mt. Gerizim and their high priests sacrificing the paschal lamb in the presence of the British High Commissioner of Palestine, Arthur Wauchope (from 30:55 min). (Note: The Samaritan community will celebrate Passover this year beginning on Thursday evening 18 April.)

Road to Liberty 1946 – Film about the Jewish Brigade which fought in World War II as a unit of the British Army. Includes scenes of Jewish soldiers celebrating the seder in Europe (from 8:03 min.)

To Save One Life 1952 – Docudrama about two sisters who immigrated to Israel from Yemen through Youth Aliyah. Includes scenes of Pesach cleaning, preparations, and seder in a youth village. (from 39:55 min.)

Seder De Pesach 1980s – A Jerusalem family from North African conduct a model Sephardic seder. The film is interspersed with stories and animations depicting the Exodus from Egypt. (French)

Operation Exodus Honors American Troops At A Special Seder In Israel 1991 – American soldiers stationed in Israel participate in a special seder with new immigrants from the CIS and Ethiopia, shortly after the Gulf War.

Our Way: Sarajevo 1993 – The JDC and Jewish leaders in Sarajevo, Bosnia hold a special seder during the civil war in the presence of Moslem and Christian clerics. (from 3:28 min.)


 Photos Silvia Golan




You’ve never taken a tour like this; the Western Wall Tunnels right in your home!

The Western Wall Heritage Foundation is proud to present The Western Wall Tunnels 360 LIVE in the comfort of your own home. The Western Wall Tunnels were filmed, especially for you, using state-of-the-art technology that allows you to take a full tour of these famous Tunnels without leaving your house. Join us for an amazing hour on a moving 3D tour with your own guide who will take you to see hidden underground treasures that convey the fascinating history of the Jewish nation in Jerusalem.

The tour is suitable for groups or individuals. It combines film clips and unique illustrations alongside a “real” three-dimensional tour. The tour is guided by the best of our guides and you will even be able to ask questions and get personalized responses.

Join us for a walk along the entire route of the Western Wall Tunnels. Visit hidden underground spaces. Stand opposite the Holy of Holies. And walk through a Hasmonean water aqueduct. All without even getting wet or leaving your house!

For information and registration:

The Western Wall tour web page

* Our customer service hotline *5958

* Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.








We look forward to seeing you in person soon, but until then – see you in Jerusalem – in your own home!


 Photo Silvia Golan






Visit the Louvre, Disney World, national parks around the world – and now Beit HaNasi! 

Find time to join us in Jerusalem and visit Beit HaNasi with its rich and fascinating history.

President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin today, Tuesday 31 March / 6 Nisan, invited people from Israel and around the world to take a virtual tour of the President’s Residence. Four years ago, Beit HaNasi opened its visitors’ center and every year tens of thousands of people come and visit, but because of the coronavirus outbreak the tours have been suspended.

Every week, a different part of the tour will be uploaded to the president’s social media accounts. Director-General of Beit HaNasi Harel Tubi said, “we have created the virtual tour for kids and families stuck at home, but it is no substitute for the real thing. Enjoy the virtual tour, but don’t forget: when things get back to normal, come on a real tour with the visitors’ center at Beit HaNasi.”

On the first tour, visitors will hear about the history of building Beit HaNasi and will visit the Avenue of the Presidents in the gardens. In the next tour, we will see the ceremonial spaces in Beit HaNasi, looking at its history, the personal stories and see the art and the archaeology on display. The third tour will focus on the famous gardens of Beit HaNasi, where the president holds the annual “All Israel from Jerusalem” ceremony, where 120 outstanding IDF soldiers are honored on Yom Haatzmaut, Israel’s independence day. It will include the Avenue of the Leaders, trees planted over the years by global leaders on their visits over the years, including HRH The Prince of Wales, US Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, and the tree planted in memory of the president’s late wife, Nechama Rivlin ז"ל.

On becoming president, President Rivlin gave an instruction that Beit HaNasi would be the home of all Israeli people and that anyone who wanted to visit would be able to do so. Since the official opening of the visitors’ center in the second year of his presidency, some 100,000 visitors have come to Beit HaNasi.

The tours will be posted on the president’s social media channels:

·         YouTube: youtube.com/user/PresidentRivlin

·         Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ReuvenRivlin/

·         Instagram: @presidentruvi, https://instagram.com/presidentruvi


 President photo credit Silvia Golan  ( ( Published: 28 November 2018)





Passover is Chag Ha'Aviv and like spring it brings with it the prospects of renewal.

Passover is Chag Ha'Cherut.

Winds of freedom are always blowing in the air.

Let's hope for the swift waning of the current crisis affecting humankind globally.

Let's hope that those aspiring for renewal will achieve it.

Let's hope that those seeking freedom will attain it.

May you have the strength and resilience to overcome present and future challenges.

May you accomplish all that you aspire to and have good health above all else.

May you experience an inspiring and memorable holiday.


Our very best wishes for a meaningful Passover are with you.


The Gutwirth Zucker Praque Haggadah c. 1707

Donated by Benjamin Zucker and on display in the Alfred H. Moses and Family Synagogue Hall










About the Museum of the Jewish People at Beit Hatfutsot

You Are Part of the Story

The Museum of the Jewish People at Beit Hatfutsot is more than a Museum. This unique global institution tells the ongoing and extraordinary story of the Jewish people.

The Museum of the Jewish People at Beit Hatfutsot connects Jewish people to their roots and strengthens their personal and collective Jewish identity. The Museum of the Jewish People conveys to the world the fascinating narrative of the Jewish people and the essence of the Jewish culture, faith, purpose and deed while presenting the contribution of world Jewry to humanity.

The Museum opened in 1978 thanks to the vision of Nahum Goldmann, president of the World Jewish Congress 1954-1977. In 2005, the Israeli Knesset passed the Beit Hatfutsot Law that defines Beit Hatfutsot as “the National Center for Jewish communities in Israel and around the world”.


 Photo provided by Beit Hatfutsot





Stories of Jewish resistance, courage, heroism and inspiration during the darkest of times. Unforgettable accounts of courage, resistance, and survival during a world gone mad. Stream Unlikely Heroes and Liberation from two-time Academy Award-winning Moriah Films today.



Unlikely Heroes: Narrator, Ben Kingsley

 Unlikely Heroes Unlikely Heroes

Narrated by Academy Award®-winner Sir Ben Kingsley, Unlikely Heroes chronicles the yet untold stories of Jewish resistance and individual heroism throughout the Nazi Holocaust. The documentary feature presents previously unknown stories of extraordinary men and women who exemplified the highest level of courage and human dignity during the most desperate days of the Holocaust. Unlikely Heroes highlights seven extraordinary people whose unique and inspiring stories will add a new chapter to the story of Jewish resistance

Streaming now on:
Amazon, iTunes, GooglePlay, InDemand/Comcast, AppleTV, Pluto, Xumo
Upcoming: The Roku Channel, Dish


Liberation: Narrator, Sir Patrick Stewart, Producer, Director, Arnold Schwartzman, Executive Producer, Richard Trank

Liberation tells the dramatic story of the battle waged on two fronts during World War II – the Allied campaign to liberate Europe and Hitler’s genocidal campaign against the Jews. Narrators include Academy Award®-winner Sir Ben Kingsley, Sir Patrick Stewart, and Whoopi Goldberg. The World War II documentary uses film footage, radio broadcasts, and period music gathered from archives around the world. Interwoven throughout the film are the compelling stories of the Jews of Europe – unforgettable stories of tragedy, courage, resistance, and survival.

Streaming now on:
Amazon, iTunes, GooglePlay, InDemand/Comcast, AppleTV, Xumo


Simon Wiesenthal Center





About Us

Moriah Films is the Jack and Pearl Resnick Film Division of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Our documentaries focus on the 3,500 year old Jewish experience as well as contemporary human rights and ethical issues.Moriah’s goal is to produce theatrical documentaries on a regular basis that both enlighten and educate while at the same time reach national and international audiences. Two of Moriahs’ films have been recipients of Academy Awards™ for Best Feature Documentary, Genocide (1981) and The Long Way Home (1997).

In-House Production Facility

The Moriah Films’ Studio houses its own in-house production facility with state-of-the-art equipment. It is also the repository of the film and video archives of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, totaling millions of feet of film and tens of thousands of hours of materials.


Many noted actors have narrated Moriah’s productions including the late Orson Welles, Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Douglas, Sir Ben Kingsley, Nicole Kidman, Kevin Costner, Brooke Shields, Morgan Freeman,

Anne Bancroft, Martin Landau, Richard Dreyfuss, Sean Astin, Michael York, Richard Dreyfuss, Patrick Stewart, Whoopi Goldberg, and Ed Asner.

Moriah’s films have been screened theatrically and broadcast around the world on HBO, Showtime, Starz/Encore, Channel 4 in the UK, ORF in Austria, RAI in Italy, as well as on German, French, Russian, Chinese, and Israeli television outlets.
The Wiesenthal Center has had a strong interest in films since its inception and benefits from the ongoing advice and counsel of some of the leaders in the film industry who serve on its Board of Trustees.

Contact Us
1399 South Roxbury Drive
Los Angeles, California 90035
310 553.9036
800 900.9036 (toll-free from within the U.S.)
310 553.4521 (fax)
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Photos Simon Wiesenthal Center site