I've done a little research into the holiday and I'm suprised at how little I actually knew about this holiday. I also find it interesting that I've never thought to look more into this holiday before moving to Israel. The Last Supper was supposedly a Passover meal. I say supposedly because the Synoptic Gospels have the meal at a different time than the Gospel of John and scholars have been arguing over this for quite some time.
The Passover story is found in the book of Exodus chapter 12. Preparation for Passover actually begins a month before the holiday. The entire house must be cleaned thoroughly. The house must be entirely rid of Chametz which is any food made of grain and water that has been allowed to ferment or rise. All crumbs must be cleaned out of the cabinets and eating is restricted to the kitchen so crumbs don't get into the other rooms of the house. The Chametz that is in the house is to be sold or given away to non-Jews. During Passover they eat bread called matzah which is unleavened. Many families have special sets of flatware, silverware and pots and pans that are only used during Passover. The kitchen has to be specially cleaned for Passover in what seems to me a fairly involved process. Here is an article about koshering utensils for Passover to give you some idea of what koshering involves.
There is a special level of kosher food for Passover. Weeks before Passover started I noticed products in the grocery store starting to have special labels saying they were Kosher for Passover. Even the bottled water I buy has the kosher for Passover label. The picture to the left is pepper flavored Doritos the purple is the special label for Passover. The chips do taste a little different than they have the rest of the year. Passover is one of those holidays that even if you aren't a praticing Jew this is the one time of year you will probably keep Kosher.
Last Wednesday Claire went to the grocery store and came back in culture shock. She told me I had to take my camera with me. So I took my camera into the grocery store, I felt like an investigative reporter. There weren't many people in the store and only one other customer saw me take a picture. They looked at me funny and I smiled and said in Hebrew "I'm from America". They laughed at me shook their head and walked off. To the right we have the alcohol section of the store. The alcohol that is not kosher for Passover is behind the plastic. The sign says "Leavened Food Please do not touch". I found it interesting that Pepsi is not kosher for Passover but Coca-Cola is.
These pictures are all going to look similar since its the same sign and plastic but I wanted to give you an idea of how much of the store is covered up. Pictured here is the cereal aisle. Just in case you are wondering the plastic is taped down so I couldn't just reach around the plastic and take a box of cereal they really aren't selling anything that is behind the plastic. The bread aisle was completely empty. Lucky for me I had a loaf of bread in the freezer from the week before Passover. I think I may have the only loaf of bread in Israel right now.
Here is one of my favorite aisles in the store the cookie, brownie,cakes and candy aisle. So sad to see it all covered up.
So what is a girl with a sweet tooth to do during Passover? I found these cookies available on another aisle. The ingredients list gluten which is in wheat and should be forbidden but I guess it was not fermented since it bears the approved label. I think these cookies might be for a special ceremony. I haven't translated the package because I don't want to know if I'm committing some sin by eating them as a snack. I like the taste of them they remind me of the chessmen cookies I ate when I was younger only less buttery. They were on sale the sign said 1+1 which I've learned means buy one get one free so I got two packages. One has already been consumed however. :)
Not all of the kosher for Passover items have special labels some times the store just puts a label in front of the section. I'm grateful that my hot tea bags are kosher.
This post mainly dealt with the special food I haven't covered the special rituals and meals involved for the holiday. I think I'm going to leave those topics for Passover next year.
From the last post:
Mom- The scaffolding next to the woman's section of the Western Wall is part of some sort of construction/ restoration project. I've heard locals mention that it has been there for quite some time and it makes the woman's prayer section smaller.
Uncle Joe- The lighting in the tunnels was very dim so in order to get my pictures to turn out I ended up having to use the night pictures setting. Unfortunately this made the lighting look yellow. Some parts of the tunnels were creepy but not as creepy as the yellow light makes them look.
Nikki- Most of the walls didn't appear to have mortar between the stones but some of the walls did appear to have mortar like the picture from Herod's street level. Either way the walls are impressive.