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Passover: Even the family pet's are going kosher for the holiday

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Passover, the Jewish holiday, also known as Pesach in Hebrew, begins at sundown on Monday, April 14, and ends at nightfall on Tuesday, April 22. This eight day Jewish holiday is one of the most widely observed of the Jewish holidays next to Hanukkah. The Passover derived its name when the angel 'passed over' the homes of the Israelite slaves, and spared them from the wrath of death during the tenth plague; and commemorates the liberation of the Israelites’ Exodus from Egypt, and how they transitioned from slavery to freedom. Passover is a time when family and friends come together on the first and sometimes second night of the holiday, and share in the ritual seder meal.

The Passover sedar meal is observed by Orthodox, Reform and secular Jewish families, a time when they retell the story of how their enslaved ancestors’ came to freedom after hundreds of years of bondage. The word “seder” means “order” in Hebrew, and signifies the 15 parts of the ritual service, all revolving around the Passover dinner, the most important symbolic element of the Passover. The adults observe the commandment to drink four cups of wine, to signify each time God promised to deliver the slaves into freedom. The Hagaddah is read and sung during the meal, and contains the instructions for the seder, as well as the blessing and the Passover story. On each of the first two nights, the evening always concludes with a dinner.

Passover, like Hanukkah, are both family and children oriented holidays, and this year it appears, according to a New York Post report on April 13, that even the family pets are going kosher. Shannon Gessner, who considers herself a “modern Orthodox” Jewish woman, e-mailed her rabbi asking how should she prepare for Passover, now that she has Marcy, her 3-year-old mini-schnauzer. Some observant pet owners, like Gessner, plan on having their four legged family members ‘abide by the same dietary restrictions to keep their homes holy. Her plans are to feed Marcy “human food,” including organic kosher meat and apples, but says her pup will be forgoing her favorite treats for the week.

Do you ever alter your pet’s diet when it comes to the holidays?

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