ALTHOUGH Semana Santa refers specifically to the Christian calendar, the coming week is also a holiday in the Jewish community, with April 5 marking the beginning of Passover.
The eight-day celebration is held in observance of the Israelites’ freedom from slavery during the time of Moses.
“Passover is an especially important holiday because it’s about freedom and escaping slavery,” said Rabbi Michael Holzman of the B’Nai Israel Congregation.
“With the great number of people suffering in the world, there are lessons that we can learn from Passover.”
DURING the first two nights, families or communities gather for the Seder, a dinner and retelling of the story of the exodus of the Jewish slaves from Egypt.
The meal and surrounding events are seeped in culture and symbolism, with traditional foods and wine representing the hardships and liberation of the slaves. Prayers, songs, stories and a set of four questions asked by children are part of the Seder.
“Passover is usually celebrated in the home and everyone has different traditions that they bring to it,” Holzman said.
THE B’Nai Israel Congregation in San José will be holding Seder on the second night of Passover at the Palacio Hotel. The B’Nai Israel Seder will be incorporating English, Spanish and Hebrew in its Seder.
The Seder at B’Nai Israel is open to the community. For information, call 231-5243 or visit www.bnei-israel.org.
Chabad Lubavitch in Rohrmoser will be holding Seders in San José, Jacó and Santa Teresa on April 5 and 6. For more information, call 269-6565 or visit www.chabadcostarica.com.