Passover is one of the most celebrated Jewish holidays. It is an important holiday when we gather with family and friends, to recite our ancient tales, to reflect on the ideals of freedom and leadership, and to examine oppression and tyranny.

Family and friends usually gather for a symbolic meal called a Passover seder. (Seder literally means “order,” as in the “order of events” at a Passover dinner.) They usually read from a book called a haggadah (“the telling”), which recounts the tale of the Jewish people’s struggle for freedom in the mythical story of Exodus.

In modern times, the seder has grown to reflect the ideal of freedom from other tyrannies. The civil rights struggle in the United States, the period of harsh Soviet imprisonment of “refuse-niks” (Jews who wanted to leave the Soviet Union), and the women¹s movement are ­all modern struggles that make Passover a more meaningful and powerful community celebration today. Passover is a time to celebrate the modern, as well as the ancient, quest for freedom.