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UU Service Teaches Basics of Passover

Judith Jenya

By Jon Sievert

At this week’s Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Service, Judith Jenya explains the history, traditions, meanings, and celebration of Passover, the Jewish spring festival that commemorates the liberation of the Israelites from Egyptian slavery.

Every person who participates in this annual feast returns to the foundational story set over 3,000 years ago when Moses led the Jewish people out of slavery in Egypt.

The name Passover in English (Pesach in Hebrew) comes from one episode in the story. A series of plagues fell on the land and the people of Egypt. Moses had demanded Pharaoh to “let my people go.” The last and most horrific plague was the slaying of the Egyptian firstborn. Before that night, Jews were instructed to place a sign on their door so that when the angel of death approached, he would “pass over” them. This story has been incorporated into other cultures and religious traditions, particularly enslaved African Americans, as a metaphor for release from slavery. Many spirituals employ the Exodus to tell their own cultural story.

Maxine Graboyes, a cantorial soloist and professional singer, accompanied by Venezuelan guitarist Moises Alzuro will lead the musical part of this program.

The Hebrew calendar is lunar, and the first night of Passover always falls on a full moon on or near the Christian Good Friday and Easter. This year, it is celebrated from Friday, March 30, through Saturday, April 7.

As a spring festival, symbols of the season are incorporated into the telling of the Exodus story. A dinner, a major family event called a seder, is held on the first two nights of the holiday. Participants follow a Haggadah, a ritual retelling of the story. All over the world, the Haggadah is read in whatever is the local language, with Hebrew prayers and songs included.

Jenya is a UU member and coleader of the First Friday Live monthly Shabbat service. She has been a teacher, therapist, attorney, humanitarian, and public speaker in many places around the world. She moved to San Miguel de Allende 11 years ago, where she has invested her time as a poet, author, and painter, and as a worker with nonprofit organizations. She embraces the Jewish tenets of kindness and Tikkun Olam, which means “to repair the world.”

The UUFSMA Annual Meeting will follow the service.

The UU Fellowship meets every Sunday at 10:30am at Posada de La Aldea, Ancha de San Antonio 15, and welcomes people of all ages, races, religions, sexual orientation, and gender identity. The meeting room is wheelchair accessible. For more information, visit our website at


UU Service

“Freedom: Passover in Story and Song”

Judith Jenya

Sun, Mar 25, 10:30am

Posada de La Aldea, Ancha de San Antonio 15



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