It was an annual event that remembers the escape from physical and mental bondage and the freedom that resulted after the Exodus more than three millennia ago. Twenty-nine women and their daughters from Fayette, Coweta and Henry counties observed the Women’s Passover Seder (a ritualized dinner observed during Passover) at a March 31 gathering at Whitewater Creek.
Held this year on the third night of Passover, the seder is also a story of how the Jewish people gained their freedom, said organizer Vicki Leopold. In this seder we show our daughters how important women always are in fighting for rights and freedom even though history does not offer them this recognition, she said.
“Every year in Fayette County, Jewish women meet to have a very special Women’s seder. Everyone brought a dish to share, but none with leavening or flour,” Leopold said. “During Passover, Jews are allowed only to eat unleavened bread to remember the haste and how the women rushed the bread so that there was no time for it to rise. This unleavened bread is called Matzoh.”
Leopold said Passover is a time each spring that Jews gather together as they have done for thousands of years to tell the story of redemption from slavery in the land of Egypt. Jews gather around a dinner table and read from the Haggadah which tells the story of how Moses asked Pharaoh many times to free the Hebrews. Each time Pharaoh refused and God brought plagues and all sorts of suffering until Pharaoh released the Hebrews. The Hebrews then wandered for 40 years until they entered the land of Israel and while wandering received the 10 Commandments. This holiday celebrates people’s desires and right to be free and speaks to the injustice of slavery. Prayers are offered for those who still are denied freedom in their countries, Leopold said.
“We have been holding the event for seven years and each year it gets bigger and bigger which is why we moved to Whitewater Creek,” Leopold explained. “This Passover seder is different and special because it is the way that we pass along our tradition of being both Jewish and women to our daughters. The seder is our story of escaping bondage which is both physical and mental. There are many ways people celebrate their freedom and one way is to remember what life is like without it.”
For information on next year’s Women’s Passover Seder contact Karen Kalins at 770-461-1457 or Vicki Leopold at 770-461-2041.