FORT HOOD — The first night of Passover was celebrated Monday at Fort Hood with a traditional Seder feast.
The event, held at the Spirit of Fort Hood Warrior and Family Chapel Campus, was presided over by Rabbi Karyn Berger, who is new to the post.
Also referred to as Pesach, the Jewish holiday commemorates the Israelites’ deliverance from slavery under Egypt’s regime more than 3,000 years ago.
As the ceremony commenced, Berger led the congregation in song before inviting all to join in the lighting of the candles. In unison, the congregation read a prayer from the Haggadah, a Jewish text used as an instructional guide for the order of Seder.
Afterward, Berger spoke of the meaning of “sacrifice and courage” emphasizing the relentlessness of the Jewish people and their faith.
“This is a celebration of our moment of enslavement to our moment of freedom,” she said.
Tables were set in a traditional Seder fashion and the food selection consisted of the Passover must-haves such as green beans, sweet potatoes and matzah.
Other Seder plates contained customary foods like horseradish, greens, a mixture of fruits and nuts, and a roasted egg, each symbolizing the struggles the Hebrews faced while enslaved.
Although the system and food often vary from place to place, the essence of the ritual is always the same, Caryn Cohen said.
“It’s about the retelling of the story and the why, the how, and the when of the trouble we encountered.”
Fort Hood has organized Passover celebrations for almost 70 years, lay leader Edith Freyer said, adding that she has seen plenty of changes during her seven years at the post.
“Because of the transient nature of the rabbis, you see very different attitudes and very different kinds of people coming in,” she said.