Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Holidays Around the World: Celebrate Passover with Matzah, Maror and Memories

Holidays Around the World: Celebrate Passover with Matzah, Maror and Memories

Deborah Heiligman
For ages 6 to 9
National Geographic, 2007   ISBN: 978-1426300189

Passover is celebrated in the spring every year. It is time when Jews all over the world remember the story of how Moses asked Pharaoh to free the enslaved Jews who in lived in Egypt at that time. Pharaoh refused and continued to treat the Jews with great cruelty even after Moses gave a warning that God would punish Pharaoh and the land of Egypt if the situation did not change. God did indeed unleash his wrath on Egypt and Pharaoh finally agreed to free the Jews. The story of their flight is called the Exodus.

Before Passover Jews clean their homes to get them ready for the coming celebration. During Passover Jews, just like their ancestors who fled Egypt, eat only unleavened baked goods including special crackers called Matzah. There are lots of special foods that are eaten at this time and special traditions that are enjoyed during this week long holiday. One of these traditions is the Seder night. A special plate is arranged with traditional and symbolic foods and then everyone sits down at a table and a Seder service begins. It includes prayers, stories, memories, songs, and a meal. Sometimes the Seder is celebrated for two nights.

This beautifully presented book with its lively annotated photographs shows readers how Passover is celebrated in homes across the world. It provides readers with the historical background for the holiday and also helps us see how the living holiday is celebrated today. In addition to the main text there is a section at the back of the book entitled ?More about Passover? which expands on the main text and which explains in detail the symbolism of the Seder Plate. There is also a recipe for Passover Toffee.