Faith Festivals… Pesach

What Pesach means to me...

by Angela Banner, Jewish representative of Redbridge Faith Forum



This is the festival of Passover.

This remembers the exodus of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt.

We eat unleavened bread (Matzo) as the Israelites didn’t have time to bake bread because of their speedy departure from Egypt.  The day before the festival is called the fast of the firstborn.  This remembers Pharaoh’s edict that all first born Jewish males should be murdered.  Our people escaped and we gratefully acknowledge this each year.

The Seder service is held in homes with many a large family gathering.  It is also customary to invite someone who otherwise would be alone at this time.  Our various foods signify and remember our forefathers’ suffering as slaves.  We have bitter herbs – the sadness of slavery. We have salt water – tears that were shed. We have a paste of nuts – the mortar used in building Pharaoh’s great edifices.

There are four questions asked in the special book of prayer on Seder nights.  These are recited by the youngest person present.  My uncles always gave us a present if we did well. All families have their own traditions passed down through the generations.

Angela has been a Jewish representative on our Board of Trustees since 2014 and is a long term resident of Redbridge. Angela is very involved in community life including Redbridge Pensioners Forum and Ilford Historical Society.  Angela is particularly interested in in furthering the rights of older people to ensure they enjoy later life.