Jews for Jesus

Posts Tagged 'passover'

Matzah Kugel with Cheese

  • 4-6 matzohs
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 pound cottage cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons margarine or butter

Break matzot into 2" pieces.

Mix eggs with milk and reserve 1/2 cup of mixture.

Mix remaining egg/milk mixture with the cottage cheese, salt, brown sugar and cinnamon.

Dip the matzah into the reserved egg-milk mixture.

Arrange these in layers in a greased 3 quart baking dish.

Dot each layer with butter or margarine and the prepared cheese.

The last layer should be matzah covered with any remaining milk/egg mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Makes 4-6 servings.

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The Three Symbols of Passover

The following excerpt is from the Messianic Family Haggadah.* This haggadah retains the essential elements of the traditional seder service, but weaves in some New Testament understandings that explain the Passover/Jesus connection.

The Three Symbols of Passover

Leader:  Rabbi Gamaliel said that in order to tell the Passover story properly, we must mention three important things: Pesach, matzah and maror—the Passover Lamb, the unleavened bread and the bitter herbs.

Reader 2:  The Passover Lamb was God's provision for our people in ancient Egypt. John, a first-century Jew for Jesus, called Y'shua the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Y'shua was God's perfect lamb sacrificed for us. As our ancestors applied the blood of the Passover lamb to the doorposts of their homes, sparing the firstborn sons from death, today we apply the blood of Y'shua, God's lamb, to the doorposts of our hearts through faith. When we do this, we are forgiven of our sin and are set free to serve the living God.

Reader 1:  We eat the matzah, the unleavened bread, as our ancestors did when God took them out of Egypt in haste and there was no time to wait for their bread to rise. The matzah is like our Messiah Y'shua, who was without leaven, without sin. The piercing and stripes of the matzah bring to mind the words of the prophet Isaiah, who said of Y'shua:

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his stripes we are healed." (Isaiah 53:5)

Our ancestors ate manna in the wilderness as they left Egypt for the Promised Land. We are offered the bread of life, Y'shua, to satisfy us forever.

Reader 2:  This bitter herb, or maror, reminds us of the embittered life that our people endured as slaves in Egypt. The bitter root, chazeret, reminds us that bitterness goes down to the root of our very being and cannot merely be topped off. We are all slaves to sin and bitterness and we will never know the sweetness of freedom until we let the Messiah Jesus uproot the sin in our lives and set us free.

Leader:  In every generation, we are to see ourselves as though we personally came out of slavery in Egypt. For God not only redeemed our ancestors, He redeemed us too, and for this reason we praise him.

Raise the second cup and say:

All:  We praise you, O Lord, for bringing us from bondage to freedom, from despair to hope, from sorrow to joy, from darkness to Your great light.

Messianic Family Haggadah, arranged by Janie-sue Wertheim (San Francisco: Purple Pomegranate Productions, 2007), pp. 30-31. Available for purchase at purplepomegranate.org

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Witnessing to Your Family This Passover

We all struggle with knowing how to witness to our unsaved families, and there are no easy answers. But Jewish holidays provide opportunities for witnessing that are too good to miss! Our redemption from Egypt is so typical of the way God works his salvation plans. And the well-known theme of the lamb's shed blood can help you explain his plan to others.

We should always leave room for spontaneity in witnessing, but it's also wise to be prepared when we know an opportunity is coming. We have some suggestions which could prove helpful:

  • If you are a relatively new believer, be sure your family and friends know about your faith before the family gathering. Passover is no time to announce that you have accepted Jesus. The shock will detract from your family's enjoyment of the holiday and prevent them from considering spiritual things.
  • If you visit someone else's home for Passover, do not come empty handed. Whether or not you have money to spend, you can show appreciation for your host/hostess. This means as much to family members as it would to anyone else. Anything from a box of macaroons (kosher for Passover, of course!) to a bouquet of flowers would be a thoughtful contribution and a good testimony.
  • Be familiar with the Passover Haggadah. Many of our families have only a nominal understanding of the Haggadah. Some families have trouble with the Hebrew portions, so if possible, practice those especially. Familiarity with the service will show that you take your Jewishness seriously. Maybe your family and friends assume your belief in Jesus is proof that you are the least knowledgeable at the table. You might startle them into listening to you by showing competence in knowing and doing the traditions of Passover.
  • If you have children who are old enough, teach them to ask the four questions. This will help your family know that you are educating your children in important Jewish traditions.
  • Invite a Jewish or Gentile Christian friend to your family's seder. If it is not in your home, be sure to check with whomever is hosting the seder. It would be good moral support for you to have another believer present. Also, whereas a prophet is sometimes without honor in his own town," a believing friend might gain a better hearing.
  • Be humble and gentle in your testimony. In many homes, the Passover celebration has deteriorated from a Godordained rite to just another family gettogether with the main emphasis on the meal. Don't be condescending or harsh if this is true of your family. Except for the grace of God, you wouldn't have the spiritual sight to know the difference! Even if you find yourself wishing your family would take Passover more seriously, it might be best to keep your wishes to yourself for the sake of your greater testimony. Your family will not be open to hearing you if they feel your attitude is judgmental.
  • Remember that Passover is a festive time and conduct your witness accordingly. Our witness shouldn't be stuffy or overly theological. It should be serious and yet joyous! Remember, many family members do not treat Passover as a particularly religious holiday. The themes are still known well enough to provide a background for your witness.
  • It is best to witness to individuals after the seder. Try to arouse curiosity during the seder so that your relatives will ask questions afterwards. You can:
    • Pepper your conversation with interesting sidelights based on the biblical account of Passover. You may need to do a bit of research beforehand. Try learning about the geography of the Exodus, the plagues of Egypt, even how God dealt with idolatry through the Exodus. Did you know the plagues God brought upon the Egyptians involved elements of their pagan worship? The Nile River was considered a god. When he changed it to blood, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob demonstrated his power over the "gods" of Egypt. Wait for opportunities to remark on such details during appropriate moments in the seder. Be cautious not to monopolize the Seder or set yourself up as a know-it-all. Just give your family enough of a taste to arouse curiosity.
    • Raise some provocative questions during the Passover seder if you can. You must be sensitive in your timing to make this suggestion work. (Some seders leave little room for questions of a serious nature.) If you can, try posing questions like: Why don't we eat lamb at Passover? Why do we hope for Elijah? Why do we sing "Next year in Jerusalem"? What is the meaning of the song, "Dayenu"? If your family seems interested, you might go one step further and pose questions that relate very directly to the Messiah: Why does the Matzoh tash have three sections? Why is the middle piece of matzoh broken? Did you know that Jesus celebrated the Passover? Did you know that the Christian ritual called "communion" comes from our Passover observance?

Besides the suggestions we've already mentioned for preparing your "Passover Witness," there are unique opportunities for those of us who can conduct the seder in our own homes. We can:

  • Use a Messianic Haggadah.
  • Emphasize the historical and spiritual highlights of the Passover story throughout the seder. Don't let the focus of the Feast of Redemption be all feast and no redemption, but.…
  • Don't skimp on the meal! Prepare a great feast, and plan enough in advance so you can serve a number of traditional Passover dishes. Both men and women can demonstrate generosity and yiddishkeit in cooking. Organize your cooking time well, so you will not be rushed and harried when your guests arrive. They should not only smell a delicious aroma wafting from your kitchen; they should also sense your warmth and pleasure at having them in your home. Such details have more of an effect on your testimony than you might think, and the care you demonstrate is pleasing to Y'shua.
  • Take a look around your home. Do your chotchkes (knickknacks) reflect your Jewish identity? While we need to be open about our faith, certain Christian ornaments display more Gentile culture than faith in Jesus. Help your family feel comfortable and included rather than alienated as you "dress up" the house/apartment for Passover.
  • Give away a children's story book about Passover instead of money to the child who finds the afikomen. This will help emphasize the true meaning of Passover.

Wherever your seder is celebrated, be sure to pray, pray, pray that God will give you wisdom and courage to make the best use of your opportunities. The Apostle Paul wrote: "Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season" (II Timothy 4:2). So, let's be ready this Passover season!

""\r\n"June 2011"
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A Messiah Line Connection

In September 1985, Jews for Jesus brought me to San Francisco to become the voice of Messiah Line." Our Messiah Line is a nationwide ministry of encouragement and discipleship of Jewish believers by telephone. There are literally thousands of Jewish people around the United States who have been led to faith in Jesus. Many must struggle with their identities as Jews while finding their places in the church and growing in faith and service to God. I spend about half of my time calling Jewish believers, helping them meet other Jewish believers and find church homes. I also teach and encourage them through the Scriptures and prayer. Frequently I am in a position to help these brothers and sisters in the faith through crisis situations, such as rejection by their families and deprogramming attempts. I am also sharing the gospel with a number of nonbelieving Jewish people who live outside of the reach of other missionaries. My field of ministry is as near and as far as the other end of the telephone line.

One of my Messiah Line "customers" is Barbara. Barbara is a Jewish woman from a rural Illinois area that is a six-hour drive from Chicago. She is active in the Jewish temple many miles from her home. She is a teacher, wife and mother. Barbara's husband is a Gentile believer, and she attends church with him. Having received and read ISSUES, our special outreach publication for Jewish people, Barbara wrote to us because she was curious about how Jews could believe in Jesus and retain their Jewish identity. She was pleasantly surprised to receive a personal call from me. We talked for a few minutes, and I found Barbara to be articulate and well-informed. She asked good questions, and she agreed to let me send her some literature and to call her again to discuss it.

When I called again a couple of weeks later, Barbara asked me how I got involved with the Jews for Jesus movement. "And don't tell me you met Jesus," she said. "As a matter of fact, that is exactly what happened to me," I replied, and I gave her my testimony. Barbara was eager to know more about Jewish believers, and I asked her if she would like to meet Susan, another Jewish woman with whom I had been talking for about a year. Barbara agreed.

Susan is a Jewish believer in Jesus, married to a Gentile believer and the mother of two children. She is about the same age as Barbara, in the same profession, and lives about 45 minutes away from her. When I called Susan to ask her to meet Barbara, she was thrilled. Susan had been praying for an opportunity to share her faith with other Jewish people!

Not long after that Barbara and Susan got together and Barbara invited Susan to make the six-hour drive with her to attend our Jews for Jesus Midwest Ingathering near Chicago. The Ingathering is a three-day weekend of messianic fellowship, learning and worship in a quiet country retreat center. Scores of Jewish believers and their families get together to hear popular messianic teachers and performers and to make new friends.

That Midwest Ingathering proved to be a turning point for Barbara. Beautiful Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, was an ideal setting for meeting Jewish believers and hearing testimonies and observing the lives of Jewish people who have followed Y'shua. Mealtimes afforded Barbara the opportunity to talk personally with several believers, including Janet Chaiet, one of our Chicago branch missionaries. Barbara found particularly meaningful their stories of a faith that enabled them to endure the rejection of their Jewish families and friends. Also the Jewish music, worship and teaching helped her to see Jesus in a new light.

Not long after the Ingathering, Barbara decided to invite Jesus into her life. What she had not wanted to hear just a few weeks earlier became a reality to her. Barbara has met Jesus. She tells me that she has been talking with him and is getting to know him in a way she never thought possible. It will be exciting to watch God working in the life of this Jewish girl from Illinois.

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Matzo Tash Craft

Fabric Matzo Tash

Note: This requires the use of a sewing machine. Adult supervision when using any kind of machinery (including sewing machines), as well as needles, scissors, etc. is always advisable.

What You need:

  • 8 Pieces of Tightly woven fabric cut into 12" x 12" squares (your choice of color, --choose machine washable and pre-shrunk material)
  • Fabric paint pens or markers
  • 2 skeins of embroidery floss in complementary colors for your fabric
  • Scissors
  • Needle suitable for embroidery floss
  • Tracing paper for creating the design
  • Dressmakers carbon paper for transferring the design to the cloth
  • Straight pins for pinning
  • Iron
  • Optional: embroidery hoop

What You Do:

  • Sketch the decoration for the front of the matzo tash on a piece of paper roughly the size of the fabric squares. You can find ideas for specific designs related to Passover in Jewish Holiday books or Jewish art books. Tracing paper works well for copying the original design. If the design you like is too small, you can enlarge the motif by using a copy machine, till you get the size you desire. Keep the design simple -- especially if you chose to embroider it.
  • Transfer the design to the center of one of the right sides of a fabric square. Use either fabric paint pens, or fabric markers to color your design. If you would prefer, you may use an embroidery hoop, floss and thread to decorate your fabric.
  • Pair up your fabric square with the RIGHT sides together and pin them in place. The wrong (or unfinished) side of the fabric should be facing you.
  • Use your sewing machine to sew a 1/2 inch seam all the way around but leave a 2 inch gap. Make sure that when you reach the corners, you turn the fabric so that you get a "true" square corner. Stitch around twice.
  • Trim the seams and clip the corners. Turn the piece right side out and press, tucking in the part that was not machine sewn. Slip stitch that part closed using an invisible stitch. Repeat this with all the squares. You will have four closed squares when you are done.
  • Make a stack of the pieces, and fasten with pins with the decorated square on the top.
  • Use embroidery floss to whip stitch the layers together around three sides, leaving the bottom side free. This creates the pockets for your matzo tash. To care for this after the Seders are over: Machine wash this in the gentle cycle of your washer and dry it on low. A little touch up with an iron is all you'll need.

Final note -- If you do not have access to a sewing machine or you want to simplify the project and avoid machine sewing and cutting fabric, you may purchase 4 identical square shaped solid color woven cloth napkins (damask if you want to be fancy). Create your design and execute it on the top of one napkin first, then pin the napkins together and whip stitch them together as directed, leaving one edge free for the pockets.



Paper Matzo Tash (for younger children)

What you need:

  • Four 12x12 pieces of heavy weight paper or 4 ready made placemats
  • Hole punch
  • Pencil
  • Non-toxic markers, crayons, or various construction paper to cut-out
  • A glue stick
  • Scissors
  • A piece of yarn about 4 feet long in a coordinating color

What you do:

  • Draw and decorate a suitable Passover design for your matzo tash, onto the top piece of paper. Use the scissors to cut out various pieces of colored construction paper to enhance your design, if desired. Use the glue stick to attach them to the paper.
  • With a pencil, make dots on 3 of the 4 sides of the top paper about an inch apart, and about an inch from the edge of the paper.
  • Use the hole punch to punch out the holes all the way around on each of the four papers. Make sure that they match properly (the holes are in the same places respectively on each of the 4 pieces.
  • Use the yarn to weave the pieces together.
  • This creates the three pockets needed -- put a piece of matzo in each and celebrate together!

This matzo tash is only good for one or two uses as it is made out of paper, -- but using a matzo tash that your child has made himself/herself adds something special to the celebration, as it enables your child to make a significant contribution to making Passover, something they will never forget!

 

A Chronological Look at How Jesus Spent his Last Week Leading up to Passover

Saturday and Sunday

Jesus drew near to Jerusalem,1 arriving at Bethany six days before Passover,2 on Saturday. Jesus was anointed at Simon the leper's house.3 On Sunday, a great crowd came to Bethany to see Jesus.4

Monday

The next day5 Jesus entered Jerusalem,6 visited the temple7 and returned to Bethany. It was Nisan 10, when the Passover lambs were selected. Likewise, the entry into Jerusalem was the day when Jesus presented himself as Israel's Paschal Lamb.

Tuesday

On the way from Bethany to Jerusalem, Jesus cursed the fig tree,8 and in Jerusalem he challenged the temple practice of selling on the premises.9 Some religious leaders began to plot ways to kill him. That evening Jesus left Jerusalem, presumably returning to Bethany.10

Wednesday

On the way to Jerusalem, the disciples saw the withered fig tree.11 At the temple in Jerusalem, Jesus' authority and wisdom was questioned by some religious leaders.12 That afternoon Jesus went to the Mount of Olives and delivered his discourse to those assembled.13 Two additional things occurred on that day: (1) Jesus predicted that in two days he would be crucified at the time of the Passover;14 and (2) Judas planned the betrayal of Jesus with some religious leaders.15

Thursday

Jesus and his disciples prepared the Passover lamb,16 and they had their seder meal together.17 Jesus shared heartfelt words with his disciples and offered an intercessory prayer in their behalf.18 They arrived at the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus suffered in agony awaiting what was to come.19 Later that night Jesus was betrayed and arrested.20 He was tried first by Annas and later by Caiaphas and other religious leaders.21

Friday

Early in the morning, Jesus was tried by the Sanhedrin, Pilate, Herod Antipas, and Pilate again.22 He was led to the cross and crucified at 9 a.m. and died at 3 p.m. and was buried later that day.23 Jesus died at the time when the Passover lambs were being sacrificed.

Saturday

Jesus' body was in the tomb during the Sabbath, and the Pharisees hired Roman guards to keep watch of the tomb.24

Sunday

Christ was resurrected from the dead.25 His was the first of many resurrections to come, in which it was a type of first fruits offering. (First fruit offerings were made on the day after the Sabbath.)26

End Notes

  1. John 11:55
  2. John 12:1
  3. Matthew 26:6–13; Mark 14:3–9; John 12:1–8
  4. John 12:9–11
  5. John 12:12
  6. Matthew 21:1–9; Mark 11:1–10; Luke 19:28–40; John 12:12–19
  7. Matthew 21:10–11; Mark 11:11
  8. Matthew 21:18–19; Mark 11:12–14
  9. Matthew 21:12–13; Mark 11:15–17; Luke 19:45–46
  10. Mark 11:18–19; Luke 19:47–48
  11. Matthew 21:20–22; Mark 11:20–26
  12. Matthew 21:23–23:39; Mark 11:27–12:44; Luke 20:1–21:4
  13. Matthew 24:1–25:46; Mark 13:1–27; Luke 21:5–36
  14. Matthew 26:1–5; Mark 14:1–2; Luke 22:1–2
  15. Matthew 26:14–16; Mark 14:10–11; Luke 22:3–6
  16. Matthew 26:17–19; Mark 14:12–16; Luke 22:7–13
  17. Matthew 26:20–30; Mark 14:17–26; Luke 22:14–30
  18. Matthew 26:30–35; Mark 14:26–31; Luke 22:31–39; John 15:1–18:1
  19. Matthew 26:36–46; Mark 14:32–42; Luke 22:39–46; John 18:1
  20. Matthew 26:46–56; Mark 14:43–52; Luke 22:47–53; John 18:2–12
  21. Matthew 26:57–75; Mark 14:53–72; Luke 22:54–65; John 18:13–27
  22. Matthew 27:1–30; Mark 15:1–19; Luke 22:66–23:25; John 18:28–19:16
  23. Matthew 27:31–60; Mark 15:20–46; Luke 23:26–54; John 19:16–42
  24. Matthew 27:61–66; Mark 15:47; Luke 23:55–56
  25. Matthew 28:1–15; Mark 16:1–13; Luke 24:1–35
  26. Leviticus 23:9–14; 1 Corinthians 15:23

Adapted from Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ by Harold W. Hoehner. Copyright 1977 by The Zondervan Corporation; 1973, 1974 by Dallas Theological Seminary. Used by permission of The Zondervan Corporation.

Matzoh Kugel with Cheese

  • 4-6 matzohs
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 pound cottage cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons margarine or butter

    Break matzohs into 2" pieces.

    Mix eggs with milk and reserve 1/2 cup of mixture.

    Mix remaining egg/milk mixture with the cottage cheese, salt, brown sugar and cinnamon.

    Dip the matzoh into the reserved egg-milk mixture.

    Arrange these in layers in a greased 3 quart baking dish.

    Dot each layer with butter or margarine and the prepared cheese.

    The last layer should be matzoh covered with any remaining milk/egg mixture.

    Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Makes 4-6 servings.

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    Perpetual Jewish Holiday Calendar for Passover through 2018

    Jewish holidays begin at sundown on the evening before the dates given.

    So for instance, the if the first day of Passover is given as Thursday but actually begins at sundown on Wednesday. At that time the eight-day holiday begins with the first seder (outside the land of Israel, a second seder is conducted on the second night).

    • April 7, 2012 (Saturday)
    • March 26, 2013 (Tuesday)
    • April 15, 2014 (Tuesday)
    • April 4, 2015 (Saturday)
    • April 23, 2016 (Saturday)
    • April 11, 2017 (Tuesday)
    • March 30, 2018 (Friday)
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    Finding a New Wing of the House, at Pesach

    by David Friedlander

    "David, David, wake up!" I was hearing a voice, calling me from a great distance. Suddenly, I felt a hand on my shoulder shaking me and bringing me back to this reality from a deep sleep. At eight years old, I last remembered drinking two cups of wine with my family at our seder meal and, shortly thereafter, heading off to bed. Now, my brother had been sent to awaken me so I could tell the family, who were waiting at the seder table, where I had stashed the afikomen. Before heading upstairs to bed, I had surreptitiously "acquired" it from under the pillow of my father's chair at the seder table…. The wine certainly had had its effect on me…. But, I was duly informed I had to produce the afikomen so the family's seder could continue. NO afikomen, no conclusion to the seder story!

    So, I awoke, best I could, and retrieved the afikomen from where I had hidden it, giving it to my father. Pieces of the afikomen were then passed to my mother, brother, two sisters and me, and all was well once again. I knew that, after Pesach, my father would reward me with the usual "fee" of gold-foil-wrapped chocolate coins, for the "feat" of stealing the afikomen. I didn't understand all this, actually, nor many other customs and practices of the seder, but who was I to argue with chocolate coins?

    It would take me another 25 years to begin to unravel the answers to the questions raised in my mind by the traditional Jewish seder celebration, especially my questions relating to the afikomen. As the youngest member of an Orthodox Jewish family in New York City, I found that questioning my elders on the purpose and meaning of age-old Jewish traditions was not well received. Even as a child, I had questions like: Why kill an innocent little lamb? What's all this about leaven, anyway? Why do we break the middle matzah? And what's the reason for putting it under the pillow? Many symbols, many questions, but so few satisfying answers. But, as an eight-year-old, my job was just to sit and listen to the Exodus story each year and to learn and accept the age-old traditions of my ancestors.

    In my teens, I attended yeshiva in New York and studied Jewish law, Mishnah and Talmud. After college, I moved to Colorado in search of my life's adventure. A year later, I met the woman who would later become my wife and, in 1975, we were married in a traditional Jewish wedding. Two years later, our first son was born. 

    In the spring of 1979, a new neighbor woman struck-up a friendship with my wife, Patti. This friendship included the woman telling my wife about Jesus and, before long, my wife "became a Christian!" How could she DO that? She then joined the neighbor woman in attending church, taking our infant son along! "But wait, we're Jewish! You can't do that! Come back!" My life was being turned upside down!

    In the days that followed, during the spring of 1979, Patti would follow me wherever I went, reading to me from the New Testament. What chutzpah! "We're Jewish," I told her. "Jews don't read or need the New Testament!" But the words she had read to me had sparked a curiosity deep within me. Something profound had been stirred up. I determined that when the wife wasn't around, I would find opportunities to read one of the Gospels from the Bible my wife had "just so happened" to leave lying around. I started in Matthew. At that time, the six-hour, made-for-TV movie, Jesus of Nazareth, was having its television debut. It was to be shown in four parts, ending on Easter Sunday 1979. So, without my wife's knowledge, I secretly began reading the Gospel of Matthew and determined to read seven chapters a day, to keep pace with the showing of the movie, which I would then watch on each of the four evenings.

    This two-pronged approach had results for me that were like being hit with a hammer! Matthew is the only Gospel to say "This happened that what was written by the prophets might be fulfilled." "Fulfilled?" I asked myself. How could that be? Was there more to the story that I had grown up learning at the yeshiva? I looked up the cross-references to the prophecy to which Matthew was referring, each of the nine times he used that phrase. It was like someone was showing me an entirely new wing of a house I had lived in all my life. It was astonishing! The more I read, the more I felt my eyes opening. Easter Sunday arrived, which meant nothing to me as a Jew, but I had now read the last seven chapters of Matthew and I was shell-shocked: Matthew related how the man claiming to be the Messiah of Israel was crucified and rejected by the leaders of his own people, my ancestors. How could this be?

    As my wife left to attend church that evening, I turned on the TV to watch the concluding portion of the movie. Two hours later, the Messiah was crucified. The actor portraying Y'shua looked straight out from my TV screen. I "knew" he was looking right at me! His eyes pierced my heart. As he was crucified, I fell on my knees, prayed and wept. I wept for a long time, right there in front of the TV, in a pool of tears. I accepted Y'shua into my heart as my Messiah!  A new wing of the house had opened its doors to me.

    In my spirit, I then saw two hands coming down and, as it were, plugging together power to long strings of lights, each light representing a prior generation. I had been connected, with power, across the many generations of my Jewish ancestors, to the source of all power. I had come home! But I now had a thousand new questions, each vying for attention.

    In the amazing weeks that followed, my wife became aware of my acceptance of the Messiah as she saw changes in me, and I was full of many questions. I had developed a tremendous hunger to understand, and I read the Bible like a starving man. The Easter season that year was right in the middle of Pesach. Patti met another Jewish believer in Jesus whom she invited to our house to help me understand and answer as many questions as he could. He even presented me with a Messianic Haggadah. The story of Pesach took on an entirely new dimension.

    In the thirty-plus years since that day of decision, I have come to more fully understand and appreciate the Pesach seder. I see the afikomen which splits the middle matzah as representing the breaking of the body of Messiah as a sacrifice once, for all people, for all time. I also now see the wrapping of that piece of matzah in a white linen napkin and its placement under the pillow as symbolic of his death and burial. Even the buying back of the afikomen by the father for a small reward speaks to me of the Roman guards who were paid off by the Jewish priests to tell anyone who asked that the body had been stolen, as related in Matthew 28:11-15.

    That afikomen is taken from its hiding place and pieces of it are shared among all seder participants at the third cup of wine which, not coincidentally, is called the Cup of Redemption, the same cup which Jesus drank at the Passover seder which we now know as the Last Supper. Most of my people do not make this connection between the Passover lamb and the Lamb of God, Y'shua. That little boy, so soundly asleep so many years ago, heard a voice awakening him from physical sleep to retrieve the afikomen. Many years later, he heard another Voice calling him to awaken him from a sleep of a deeper, spiritual dimension and, since then, nothing has ever been the same!! Dayenu!

    "...for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Messiah is it taken away.... But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away." 2 Corinthians 3:14,16

    More About Passover

    Passover is the Feast of Redemption, first in line of the annual Jewish feasts that God commanded the children of Israel to observe. We love the holiday as it celebrates our miracle-working, bondage-breaking God, telling how He set our ancestors free from slavery in Egypt. We also love it because our Messiah Jesus celebrated it and adapted some of the Passover traditions to point to the even greater redemption that He accomplished for Jews and Gentiles. This year, Passover begins at sundown on April 23. If you’d like to read some of the articles that we Jews for Jesus have written about this holiday, go to our Passover Page.

    We were also intrigued by an article we discovered that describes, among other things, Passover in Louisiana. The article tells how Louisiana got its Jewish community, how some of the Jewish people there have blended traditions of the South with Jewish culture and more. Here are two quick excerpts:

    In a state known the world-over for its culinary traditions, Jewish women find creative ways to blend the traditions of their neighbors with those of their ancestors. Elaine Schlessinger of New Orleans makes an old family recipe for charoset, which, although blending the Old World with the New South, is not kosher.

    (The article goes on to describe the secret ingredient for the charoset recipe, which we are by no means recommending that you use, though it does make interesting reading.)

    also included in the article:

    Jews in New Orleans have been able to be involved at every level of civic life. Judah P. Benjamin of New Orleans, helped finance the Civil War, and served as Secretary of War and Secretary of State for the Confederacy. According to Cathy Kahn, Jews were not, however, accepted at the highest levels of society, which in New Orleans means Mardi Gras. "It is a little known fact, that the first king of Carnival—the first Rex, in 1872—was Jewish. His name was Lewis Solomon.

    Want to read more? Find it at "Bayou Bubbes: Jewish Women in Louisiana" by Susan Levitas.

    PLEASE NOTE: we do not necessarily endorse all the content you see on all of these or previous sites mentioned, but if you read them judiciously, we hope you will find them both interesting and helpful for learning.

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