PASSOVER OR PESOCH.This 8-day Festival of Freedom is one of
the most cherished of Jewish holidays. Pesoch commemorates Israels
dramatic deliverance from enslavement in Egypt over 3,200 years ago. The
first 2 days and the last 2 days are full holidays. The first 2 days are days of
obligation, and a Seder is held in the evening. This combination banquet and
religious service is a highlight of the Jewish year.
The foods served at the Seder commemorate events connected with the
enslavement and the deliverance of the Jews. During all of Passover, Matzoh
(unleavened bread) is eaten. Many Jews eat only kosher food during
Passover, more than most other Jewish festivals, is likely to be an
occasion when Jewish military personnel will turn to a layleader or Religious
Program Specialist for help in practicing their faith.
Some of the areas of their concern are (a) religious services, (b) leave
time, (c) Seder accommodations, and (d) special Passover foods, The last
two are unusual and may be problem areas. The complicated procedures of
arranging and conducting an on-base Seder may, in some circumstances, be
avoided if Jewish personnel can be granted leave or liberty to return home or
to attend a Seder service in a nearby Jewish community.
When Jewish personnel and dependents do remain on base and desire to
attend a public Seder, the following steps should be taken:
A suitable time and place should be fixed.
Reservations should be taken.
Food and utensils, which should be kosher for Passover, should be
Passover preparations require advance planning; 2 months is not too long
a period to allow for making arrangements. Overseas, preparations should
start even earlier. There is no simple solution to the problem of providing
kosher for Passover foods for an entire week. If the need is anticipated
sufficiently in advance, however, commissary officers should be able to stock
items which are needed. Jewish women may be willing to assist the layleader
in this and many other endeavors. Information about military sisterhoods
may be secured through the Jewish Welfare Board (JWB) Womens
The rituals, language (Hebrew or English) songs and service length and
other aspects of the services of Jewish groups may vary from group to group;
however, all groups will use the order given in the following paragraphs, or
something very close to it.
Opening psalms, songs and blessings.