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Jewish Holidays

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The Origin of Pessach

The Origin of PessachPassover, or Pesach in Hebrew, is one of the three major pilgrimage festivals of ancient Israel. The holiday is celebrated for seven days in Israel and eight days in the Diaspora. Passover commemorates the freedom and exodus of the Israelites from Egypt which is why it's also called Zman Cherutenu, the Season of our Freedom. The celebration begins at the 15th of the Hebrew month of Nissan. The ritual of this holiday centers on the Seder and a festive meal; this is the occasion for the Jewish families to go through their origin and history by reading the Hagadda, the story exodus story. The name Pesach comes from the Hebrew meaning to pass over. It refers to how G-d passed over the houses of the Jewish People during the plague of the Death of the First Born. Pesach is also referred to as Chag Ha-Aviv, Holiday of the Spring Time. As the Israelites were in a hurry to leave Egypt and had no time to let their bread rise, Jewish law forbids eating or even possessing any food that can contain Chametz-leaven. Therefore, a major part of the preparations for Pesach consists of removing all traces of leavened foods from the home and replacing them with unleavened foods. This necessitates both a massive cleanup and the replacement of one's ordinary dishes with special Pesach ones. It also requires a shopping expedition to stock the kitchen with special Passover-kosher foods. In the weeks before Passover, matzos are being prepared for the holiday consumption and homes are cleaned of everything Chametz. Though it is not forbidden to eat Matzot outside of Pessach it is a Tradition not to eat Matzot from Purim in order really enjoy and appreciate this special kind of food. TREAT YOUR FAMILY AND FRIEND WITH SPECIAL PASSOVER FOOD. TO SEE OUR PASSOVER RECIPES PLEASE CLICK THE LINK.

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Mechirat Chametz

Mechirat ChametzThe requirement of Biur Chametz, elimination of the Chametz, is limited to foods under Jewish ownership and possession. Chametz that has been transferred to a non Jew does not have to be destroyed. The sale of the Chametz is done by a legal and binding sale with properly executed contract that gives the full title to all Chametz. The Chametz is bought back after Passover. A limited amount of Chametz is not sold and kept in order to fulfill the commandment of eliminating all the Chametz. The Chametz that has been sold and does not belong to us must be put in a completely sealed-off place that is inaccessible during Passover.

Beur Chametz

Beur ChametzExodus 12:15 tells us Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses In cleaning for Passover, we are first and foremost fulfilling the commandment elimination of the last traces of Chametz. The search and elimination of the last traces of Chametz is called Be'ur Chametz. As all Chametz in one's possession must be destroyed in the morning before Passover. This is why on the night of the thirteenth of Nisan a search for Chametz is to be conducted in the home. The search is conducted in the evening, by candlelight and mostly with a feather. Chametz found during the search is set aside and will be burned the next day.

The Seder Plate

The Seder PlateThe Passover Haggadah demands that each person see him or herself as having personally come forth out of Egypt. Accordingly, the Seder is one of the most sensory-heavy rituals of the Jewish year. During the Seder ritual we don‘t just tell the story of the Exodus, we see, smell, feel, and taste liberation. The centerpiece of the Passover Seder table is the Seder plate, a special plate containing foods that remind us of the struggle of the Israelites in their quest and journey to freedom Karpas--a green vegetable, most often parsley. It represents the initial flourishing of the Israelites during the first years in Egypt In the course of the Seder, we dip the karpas in salt water in order to taste both the hope of new birth and the tears that the Israelite slaves shed over their condition. Haroset--This mix of fruits, wine or honey, and nuts symbolizes the mortar that the Israelite slaves used to construct buildings for Pharaoh. Maror--This bitter herb allows us to taste the bitterness of slavery. Today we use horseradish as maror. Like life in Egypt, the roots taste sweet when one first bites into them, but then become bitter as one eats more. We dip maror into haroset in order to associate the bitterness of slavery with the work that caused so much of this bitterness. Hazeret-- Many Jews use Romaine lettuce or another bitter green for hazeret. Some use the same vegetable for both parts of the seder, and do not include hazeret on the seder plate at all. Zeroa--A roasted shank bone that symbolizes the lamb that Jews sacrificed as the special Passover offering when the Temple stood in Jerusalem. The z‘roa does not play an active role in the seder, but serves as a visual reminder of the sacrifice that the Israelites offered immediately before leaving Egypt and that Jews continued to offer until the destruction of the Temple. It reminds us also of the outstretched arm - zeroa netuya - in the leaving of Egypt. Beitzah--A roasted egg that symbolizes the hagigah sacrifice, which would be offered on every holiday in the Temple. The roundness of the egg also represents the cycle of life even in the most painful of times, to show us that there is always hope for a new beginning. To complete the look of your Seder evening beautifully matching Matzah plates were designed to make serving the Matzah easy and to prevent the Matzah crumbs from falling on the Passover tablecloth. To read more about Seder & Matzah plates and see the beautiful artistic ones please click on the link.

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Matzah Shmurah

Matzah ShmurahSince the Exodus and the commandment to eat unleavened bread for Passover the practice had always been to prepare the Matzah, unleavened dough flat bread made out of flour and water, by hand. With the advance of the Industrial Revolution in the first half of the nineteenth century, however, things changed a machine for baking Matzos was invented. The popularization of the machine made Matzah caused a major Halachaic controversy over the Kashrus status of the machine Matzah. That is why many observant people back their own Matzah or buy Matzah Shmurah with special observed meal. To ensure that the Matzah will be absolutely kosher it is traditional that the flour from which this Matzah is prepared should be specially supervised from the time the wheat is cut. The Hebrew word for supervised Matzah is Matzah Shmurah. This Matzah is mostly used for the Seder on Passover eve as it should be special. We must fulfill the Mitzvah of Achilat Matzah, the commandment of eating Matzah, starting with the one eaten at the Seder before the Seder meal. After blessings Hamotzi and Al Achilath Matzah are pronounced we take our first Matzah bite. This Matzah must be prepared with the express purpose of the comandment of Matzah LeShem Matzoth Mitzvah, for the sake of the Matzah of the mitzvah.

the Four Cups of Wine

the Four Cups of WineWhen celebrating the Seder ceremony each of us is obligated to drink four cups of wine. The first cup we drink at the start of the Seder, following the Kiddush. The second before has to be drunk before the meal after reciting the Exodus story in the Haggadah. The third cup is drunk following the Birkat Hamazon, Grace after the Meal. The fourth and last cup of wine is consumed after completing Psalms of Praise, the Hallel. One should drink the wine reclining on the left side, in order to symbolize freedom. According to tradition, one is required to recline on the left side while he drinks the four cups and eats the matzo as a symbol of freedom.

Elijah‘s Cup

Elijah‘s CupOne of the best parts of the Seder for many children is the moment we place a cup of wine outside the door for Elijah the Prophet. We ask ourselves why we have an Elijah's cup at the Seder table. It seems there was a Talmudic dispute as to how many cups of wine to drink at the Seder, four or five. The Rabbis found the perfect Jewish compromise: We fill the fifth cup, but we don't drink from it. This cup is traditionally called the Kos shel Eliyahu or Elijah's cup. Children will enjoy it if just before placing Elijah's cup you tell him all about the prophet. Than open the door to enable Elijah the Prophet to visit the home on the Seder night. For Hidur Mitzvah purposes we look for a great cup to be placed for Elijah.

Matzah Cover why?

Matzah cover & Afikoman BagOn the Seder evening we place three Matzot on the Seder plate. Tradition explains that these Matzot are referred to as Cohen, Levi, and Yisrael as a means of distinguishing them from each other. The top Matzah is referred to as Cohen, for the Cohen takes precedence in all matters. The middle Matzah Levi is broken into two at the beginning of the Seder. The smaller piece is left on the plate and is later eaten along with the Cohen Matzah in fulfillment of the mitzvah of Matzah; the larger piece is put away for use as the Afikoman. The third Matzah that is placed on the bottom is referred to as Yisrael and is used for Korech, so that every one of the Matzot is used for the performance of a mitzvah In order to separate the Matzot and to find the right one when needed there are three pockets inside the Matzah cover. Most people would like to practice Hiddur Mitzvah, beautification of a ritual obligation, by acquiring special ritual objects to fulfill a mitzvah people use decorative Matzah covers made of silk and velvet with paintings, embroidery, and tassels. The Matzah cover & Afikoman bag pictured were designed by Yair Emanuel.To see one of our beautiful artistic ones please click on the link.

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Affikoman traditionAt the beginning of the Seder, the middle of three Matzot is broken with the larger piece tucked away for later. This piece is called The Afikoman meaning dessert in Aramaic. Many Families carry a special affikoman Bag for this purpose others tuck it in a napkin. The person leading the Seder will hide the Afikoman and at the appropriate time ask all the kids to go find it. Since the Seder cannot come to a conclusion without eating this Afikoman, children will get toys or other gifts as a reward for finding it. This is of course a way to keep the young children awake until the end of the Seder.

Miriam‘s Ritual

Miriam‘s Rituals & TraditionsMiriam is a biblical heroine endowed with many qualities inspiring to women today. Miriam was a prophetess in her own right. According to tradition she prophesied before Moses‘ birth that her parents would give birth to the person who would bring about their people‘s redemption. Miriam was there when Moses was rescued from the Nile. She led the women of Israel in a song and dance of celebration after the Pharaoh‘s men were drowned in the sea. Miriam’s tradition is a ritual that was newly rediscovered of using Miriam’s items for the Passover Seder. Its purpose is to honor the role of Miriam the Prophetess in the Exodus and to highlight the contributions of women to Jewish culture, past and present. It is to remember a miraculous well that accompanied the Hebrews throughout their journey in the desert, providing them with water. This well was given by G-d to Miriam, the prophetess, to honor her bravery and devotion to the Jewish people. After crossing the Red sea, Miriam and the woman raised their tambourines in joyous song of thanksgiving for their miraculous freedom and in anticipation of future miracles. To remember all the events Miriam‘s cup is filled with water rather than wine and other Seder dishes are decorated with Miriam's paintings. TO SEE ONE OF OUR MIRIAM CUPS, PLEASE FOLLOW THE LINK.

see Miriam cup


MaimunaMimuna, alsospelled Meimouna, is the Moroccan festival that is celebrated by the Jews from Morocco to declare the end of Passover They celebrate it by opening their house to everyone in the city. The table is decorated with sweets, jams, and other special foods like the Mufletta The food symbolizes happiness, peace, fertility and the end of the Passover with the possibility of working freely with soured dough. Inviting for the Meimuna, it is a tradition to prepare small sweet bites. Making your own sweets is actually quite fun. Moroccan women are very competitive and each one is trying to have more variations on her plate. The main dish however is a Mufletta, a light variation of the French crepe, served with sweets like honey, jams and butter. to see our Meimuna recipes please click the link. They say: Tisaadu ve Tirbacho, meaning come and dine and enjoy with us!

Meimuna recipes

Passover Gifts

Passover is a time you celebrate with your family. You are invited for the Seder, visiting friend and family, or staying over for the holiday. There are many Passover gifts that will always be welcomed and useful by your hosts at the Seder supper or for their home during Passover and the rest of the year. Passover gifts from Israel are great. Bring Passover gifts when you come for the Seder. Gans is your on-line resource for beautiful Seder Plates and Israeli Judaic art for Passover and Passover gifts at Gans Passover shop. Find Israeli holiday gifts for Passover at GANS Holidays Judaica Store, where Judaic Gifts and Judaica Artifacts for Passover await you in abundance. Gans Judaica and Jewish gift store from Israel for Israeli gifts and art for Pessach, Passover, can be ordered on line. Finding gifts for the Jewish holidays is made easy at Gans Passover shop. Gifts for Passover from Gans Jerusalem are the best ones! Israeli gifts and ritual objects for Passover will help you set your Pesach table with Seder plates and Pessach gifts from our extensive Pesach gifts and gift ideas made in Israel collection. Find matching Israeli Seder plates, Israeli Matzah holders and Israeli serving plates for the Passover holiday. Choose a beautiful glass Seder plate made in Israel or a lovely Israeli Matzah cover to derive pleasure from. This is the place to find all your Israeli gifts for Passover. We wish you a happy and kosher holiday. Find beautiful glass Seder plate, ceramic Seder plate, and Israeli Seder plate: beautiful Seder and Passover plates await you at Gans Jerusalem. We carry Yair Emanuel's embroidered and raw silk Matzah Covers, Affikoman bags to match, hand painted silk Matzah covers, Eliyahu and Miriam cup here at Gans virtual shopping mall. Give your friends a Pesach and Passover gift certificate that will enable them to choose from all those beautiful gift items, all made in Israel. We carry Israeli ceramic Seder plates, Jerusalem stone Seder plates, Jerusalem stone Matzah plates, hand painted Matzah and Seder plates by Yair Emanuel, in short: everything Israeli for the Seder night and the Passover holiday. Kakadu Matzah holders and Seder plates will make you smile and ceramic Passover plates by Israeli artist will set a sign on your Seder table. Glass Seder plates for the Seder evening will adorn the table and make beautiful Passaic gifts for young couples and the young at heart. Our Passover Shop includes artistic and functional items used for the Passover holiday that will add to the festivity of the holiday.

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