15 Passover Terms And Vocabulary Words For Kids

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How can I use Passover to teach my children vocabulary words?

Understanding holidays can be a fantastic learning experience for children. Even holidays and festivals that are not ordinarily celebrated by a specific family can be of interest to spur on learning for children. Embracing a holiday in celebration and learning about it for understanding can be two very different components in bringing education to children. So if you are Jewish and embrace the festival of Pesach, also known as Passover; or if you are non-Jewish and just want to learn, religious and cultural holidays rich in history and vocabulary terms, Passover is a great time to start.

Passover is a Jewish holiday that takes place each year during the Hebrew month of Nisan, which usually falls within March or April under the commonly used calendar of today.  The exact date is dependent upon the phases of the moon.  In Hebrew, this holiday is referred to as a feast or festival and is called the Pesach.  It is a remembrance celebration of Moses leading the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt to freedom.  It is referred to as Passover because of the last of 10 plagues that the Egyptians suffered.  The Jewish people believe that every time Pharaoh refused Moses' request to let the Israelites go free, their God sent a new plague.  The last of these plagues was that every first born male in each family would die unless they had put the blood of a lamb on their doorposts.  The doorposts that had the blood wiped on them were passed over by the death angel.  It was after this plague that Pharaoh relented and allowed the Jewish slaves to leave into their freedom.  When they were finally allowed to go free, they had to do so quickly.  They left so quickly, in fact, that the yeast in their bread didn't have time to rise.  This is why unleavened, matzah bread is used as part of the celebration.  Following are terms and vocabulary words associated with the festival of Passover to help children understand the history and the holiday.  The words are presensted in alphabetical order.

1. Afikomen - The larger piece of the broken matzah that is hidden by the leader of the Seder and later searched for by the children.

2. Ancestors - Family members or relatives who lived a long time ago.

3. Blessing - A prayer or request from God for favor on someone or something.

4. Chametz - Food that contains leaven.  Jewish families will clean their house of any chametz before Passover.  Some even make a game of finding pieces of chametz.

5. Charoset - A mixture of apples, nuts, spices and wine.  It symbolizes the mortar the Israelite slaves used in the construction of Pharaoh when they were slaves.

6. Exodus - The Israelites escape from slavery.

7. Haggadah - This is the story of Moses and the Israelites escape from slavery which is read during Passover.

8. Hebrew - This is the language spoken by the Israelites or Jewish people.  It is also used to refer to anything having to do with the Jewish culture.

9. Matzah - A cracker-like bread baked without yeast.

10. Pesach - This is a Hebrew word that means "to passover."

11. Prophet – A person who brings a message from God. Moses was God's prophet in the historical and religious account of the Passover. Moses was the prophet who presented the request before Pharaoh to let the Israelite people go. It was Moses who then led the Israelites through the Red Sea and into freedom.

12. Plagues -  A sudden troubling event.  In Egypt, there were 10 plagues with the final one being the death angel passing over houses that had blood from a lamb on their door frames.  Only the Jewish people who believed the warning obeyed the command to put the blood on their doors.  Only these families were spared the death of their first born.

13. Seder - A ceremonial meal that takes place on the first night of Passover that includes a Seder plate, the reading of the Haggadah, a blessing, hands washing, dipping of greens into salt water, breaking the matzah and hiding a piece in an afikoman bag, children asking four questions, better hers dipped in charoset and eaten, a meal enjoyed, children hunt for afikoman and a blessing is said over a cup left at an empty setting at the table for Elijah along with opening the door to allow Elijah to visit.  It is believed that Elijah will come to announce the coming of he Messiah.  The festival ends with the singing of traditional songs.

14. Seder Plate - A plate containing symbolic items including a lamb shank bone that stands for the sacrificed lam in the Passover story, a roasted egg which symbolizes life, rebirth and spring, fresh greens which also are symbolic of spring and new life, bitter herbs which stand for the bitterness of slavery and Charoset which represents the mortar they used while building constructions under Pharaoh.

15. Unleavened Bread - This is bread made without yeast, or leaven.  It is used to remember that the Israelites fled Egypt so quickly they didn't have time to wait for their bread to rise.


Posted on Apr 13, 2011
Roberta Baxter
Posted on Apr 13, 2011