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Teach your kids about Passover

Maria Mora is a freelance writer and single mom fueled by coffee, questionable time management skills, toaster oven waffles and the color orange. She lives in Florida with her two young sons. If you see her on Twitter, tell her to stop p...

Share the story of Passover

Regardless of your family’s faith, teach your children about the meaning of Passover in age-appropriate terms. Discover ways to share the story of this Jewish holiday and the traditions that surround it.
Passover Seder plate

Passover is an eight-day Jewish festival that takes place in spring. This holiday with biblical origins celebrates the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. Share this joyous festival with your children, teaching them about one of the most important festivals in the Jewish faith.

The basics of Passover

Almost everyone has heard of the Ten Commandments and the parting of the Red Sea. What people may not understand is the deep sense of liberation and faith that are tied to Passover and the freeing of people of Israel from slavery. Teach your children the story of Moses, how he was spared as an infant from the cruel laws of the land, and how God led him to confront the Pharaoh of Egypt. If your children are very young, it’s OK to skim over the plagues that befell the people of Egypt. However, older children, especially if they’ve learned about the Crucifixion, should be able to handle the story of the death of the firstborns. Focus on the determination, faith and bravery that led to the Israelites’ freedom.

Learn about Passover celebrations

During the eight days of Passover, many rituals are observed. The most well-known is the seder, a special banquet held on the first and second days of Passover. During the seder, specially prepared foods and drink as well as readings allow families to reenact and recall the emancipation of the people of Israel. Kids will be fascinated to know that during Passover, homes, workplaces, lockers and even cars must be rid of chametz, any food made of wheat or other grains that have been leavened. Many processed foods are classified as chametz. In order to remove all traces of chametz from the home during Passover, Jewish families undergo serious spring cleaning.

Find out how to host a Passover seder >>

Incorporate Passover traditions

Even if your family practices another faith, your children may be interested in learning about Passover. If your family is Christian, present Passover as a tradition that Jesus Christ would have observed. Regardless of your family’s faith, Passover is a beautiful festival inspired by a story of tremendous human courage and perseverance. Incorporate some of the traditions of Passover into your spring routine as a way of teaching your children about the Jewish faith.

  • Share a special meal with your family. Have your children help you prepare the food.
  • Spend time together talking about the Exodus. Ask your children questions, such as prompting them to consider how they would feel in the circumstances.
  • Shop for kosher foods with your children. Talk about why unleavened bread is eaten during Passover.
  • Thoroughly spring clean your home, making it a group effort.

Find ways to teach your children more about Passover

Passover book - Izzy the Whiz and Massover McClean

Use teaching tools to help share the story of Passover with your children. There are many retellings of Moses and the emancipation of his people. Not all are appropriate for young children. Try the animated film The Prince of Egypt for a spiritual narrative that features catchy music. Read a book for children, such as Izzy the Whiz and Passover McClean by Yael Mermelstein.

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