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Inclusive Employers is the UK’s first and leading membership organisation for employers looking to build inclusive workplaces.

What is Passover?

The holiday of Passover (Pesach in Hebrew) is perhaps one of the most central to Jewish life and history. It is observed more than any other Jewish holiday.

The holiday last eight days for most of the world but seven days in Israel and some Liberal/Reform Jewish communities.

When does the holiday take place?

This year it is celebrated from Monday 22nd – Tuesday 30th April 2024. Although fixed in the Jewish calendar, the festival’s exact date varies because Jewish months are based on the lunar year.

Why does the Jewish community celebrate this holiday?

Passover celebrates the biblical account of the Israelites’ escape from 400 years of Egyptian slavery.

The story of Passover is told in the Book of Exodus and the ten plagues of Egypt.

The word “Passover” is derived from the Hebrew word Pesach, which means “passed over,” referring to the 10th plague that killed the Egyptian’s firstborn, but “passed over” the houses of the Israelites.

The holiday involves friends and family celebrating the great lessons of the story: the blessing of freedom, and involves many food traditions too.

It is a joyous time, and Jewish people celebrate freedom and take the feeling of responsibility to ensure freedom is awarded to all.

Facts about the holiday you should know

Here are a few quick facts to know:

  • Before Passover begins, it is customary to do some spring cleaning to start the celebration, to be prepared and ensure there are no remnants of foods considered forbidden during the festival.
  • There are forbidden foods, ‘Chametz’, which are not eaten during the festival.
  • Celebrations focus on the ‘Seder’, a meal re-enacting the Exodus Story.
  • At the end of the seder, it is customary to pour wine into an extra glass for Elijah, open the front door so his spirit can visit the home.
  • Miriam’s Cup is a modern addition to the seder. This additional cup is filled with water, usually at the beginning of the meal, and is an inclusive symbol to remember the importance of women in the exodus story. Miriam’s Well was a vital water source for the Israelites in the desert.

How to support Jewish colleagues in the workplace

There are numerous ways to celebrate and acknowledge Jewish colleagues at work, including:

  • Amplify the voices of your Jewish colleagues – this can be done by inviting Jewish colleagues to speak at events and inviting Jewish colleagues to write blogs sharing their perspectives, making it easier for everyone to speak at meetings.
  • Educate yourself and your teams on antisemitism.
  • Use the bitesize inclusion toolkit to facilitate conversations about race and faith inclusion.

Next steps to embed faith inclusion

If you would like to explore how the the best practice highlighted in this awareness page can benefit your workplace, we would love to hear from you. Start the conversation by filling in the form below:

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