Passover Around the World

passover world

Did you know that Passover is celebrated differently around the world? It all depends on where you live and what unique customs your family has. For example, Sephardic Jews eat rice during Passover, but Ashkenazi Jews do not. Jews in Gibraltar, Spain actually put brick dust into their charoset! And Jews in Ethiopia actually break all the dishes and destroy their pots and pans before Passover and start over! In this lesson, you will learn some of the more “interesting” Jewish customs from around the world. Enjoy! 




#2 In Ethiopia Why do Jews Break Their Dishes on Passover?

To celebrate Passover and their past, the Ethiopian Jews break all of their old existing earthenware dishes and cooking utensils and purchase new ones. By doing this they feel that they are breaking away from the past and getting a fresh start into a new life.

ethiopian matzo makingmy-three-distethiopian_seder1








#3 Why Do Afghani Jews Hit Each Other with Scallions During Their Seder? 

“Dayenu” is sung throughout the diaspora during the seder, but Sephardic Jews from Iran and Afghanistan have a lively custom in which they whip each other with oversize scallions. Many believe this custom is symbolic a way to mimic the whips of slave drivers in Egypt. Here’s an example of one family singing Dayenu and playfully whipping one another with their scallions.


#4 In Gibraltar, Spain do Jews really put brick in their charoset?

YES! In the British territory of Gibraltar, the tiny island off the coast of Spain, Jews actually mix the dust of bricks into their charoset dish, a symbol of the mortar used to hold together the brick walls the Jews built in Egypt, according to Hillel.

img_6500-5 an_old_lady_biting_a_brick_by_ElementV






#6 What Do Syrian Jews Break Their Matzah in the Shape of?

UniquePassoverTraditions8In the Syrian community, the custom of breaking the middle matzah on the seder table into pieces (known as yachatz) can sometimes be very fun! Matzah broken into the shape of the Hebrew letters “daled” and “vav” correspond to numbers, which in turn add up to 10, representing the 10 ten plagues.


#7 Respond and React

Now that you have learned about different Passover traditions, review and reflect on these questions.

1. What did you find the most surprising Passover custom?
2. Why do some Jews from Spain put brick dust in their charoset?
3. Why do Afgani Jews hit one another with scallions during the seder?
4. Why do Jews from Ethiopia break their dishes?
5. What is the most unique Passover tradition in your family?

Need some help?

We’re here for you. At any time, if you have any questions, please contact one of our teachers so we can help you.

Also, at the end of the session, remember to review your responses in your Tamid Workbook so you can get credit for this lesson. Behatzlacha (Hebrew for good luck)!

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