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Passover set to begin
Families prepare for observance
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Forsyth County News


The location may be changing this year, but the family tradition stays the same on Passover for Ethel and Irwin Rubenstein.

The couple usually holds Passover in their Cumming home. This year, however, they’re heading to their son’s home in Lawrenceville.

“My grandson is studying for his CRCT exams and it would be best if they’re in their own home,” Ethel Rubenstein said. “But it doesn’t matter. It’s just being together. That’s the most important thing — being with family.”

The Rubensteins are one of many Jewish families in Forsyth County who will celebrate Passover beginning Monday.

The eight-day holiday honors their ancestors’ exodus from slavery in Egypt.

During the holiday, families and friends gather to read the story of the Hebrews’ plight in a book called the Hagaddah.

The book is read during the Seder, a traditional meal held the first two nights of the holiday.

For their first night Seder, the Trutt family will be joining friends.

“We’re going on Sunday to help them prepare their meal, and then on Monday night to celebrate the first night’s Seder with them and their family and some other friends,” Linda Trutt said.

“We usually celebrate with friends every year ... there will be about 13 or 14 of us. That’s the way you celebrate — with a large group.”

On the second night, the Trutts are trying something new.

“We’re going to be celebrating it with our son’s ... all-Jewish Boy Scout troop,” she said. “This is the first year we’re doing this, but everybody is bringing something.

"I’m bringing some Kosher grape juice, some fruit salad and a box of matzo, someone else is going to make the meat ... and we’ll read from the Hagaddah and the boys will recite and do most of it.”

According to the Torah, or Jewish holy book, God inflicted 10 plagues on the Egyptians, ranging from locusts to darkness, to convince them to free the Jews.

To be spared from the plagues, Jewish families marked their doors with the blood of a lamb, so the final plague -- death of each family’s first-born child -- would “pass over” their homes.

Food plays a key role in the holiday, used to represent the plight from Egypt.

During the eight days of Passover, Jewish families eat only matzo, or unleavened bread, to represent the Hebrew exodus, when there was no time to properly bake bread.

“My husband makes delicious matzo brie [fried matzo],” Rubenstein said. “It’s just made with TLC. He’s made it all the years that we’re married, and that’s 53 years.”

This year, Ethel Rubenstein will be preparing the charoset, made with apples, cinnamon and nuts.

In addition to its sweet flavor, the mixture also represents the bricks and mortar Jewish slaves made before their liberation. Sharing the story of the celebration of Passover with family is what makes the holiday so special, Rubenstein said.

“It’s part of our heritage. It’s a tradition and it’s a beautiful celebration of freedom,” she said.