Celebrating Passover

Passover provides us with an annual opportunity to renew our commitments and teach our story to the next generation. We do so through a series of acts intended to help us internalize and live the wisdom of our tradition. From cleaning our homes to getting ready for the seder, everything we do to prepare for and to celebrate Passover is imbued with substantial spiritual significance. For a listing of Pesach rituals and service times, please scroll to the bottom of this page.

There is diversity in how K.I. households observe Passover; all are welcome to participate in the following meaningful acts.

Cleaning the House
Cleaning our homes of hametz—leaven—is a metaphor for searching inside ourselves to rid our lives of pride, self-centeredness, materialism and other character traits that interfere with our living our lives as meaningfully as we are able. Accordingly cleaning for Passover is a thorough process. Generally speaking, it is best to run down stocks of hametz in our cabinets, refrigerators and freezers at this time of year to enable a fresh start after Passover.

Passover Shopping
Many of us have memories of special Passover foods prepared in the home of parents or grandparents—matza balls, gefilte fish, haroset, brisket, matza meal cakes, etc… Today the easy availability of kosher for Passover products beginning about a month before Passover—in stores and on the internet—has made observing the dietary practices of the holiday easier.

Search for Hametz
After dark, Thursday night, March 29: The cleaning complete, one member of the household ‘hides’ a few pieces of bread for the others to find by candlelight. Before the search commences, recite the following blessing:

Barukh ata Adonai elohaynu melech  haolom asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzeevanu al bee-ur hametz.

You, Adonai, Source of Blessing, Ruler of the Universe, have sanctified us through Your commandments and commanded us regarding the burning of hametz.

Complete the search (preferably in silence), wrap up the bread and the paper bag used to collect it and declare:

Kol Hamira v’hami-a d’ika birshuti d’la chamitay udla viartay udla ydana lay, libatel v’layhavay hefker k’afra d’ara.*

May all leaven in my possession, which I have not seen or removed be regarded as non-existent and considered as mere dust of the earth.

*Please note: The declaration is written in Aramaic because Aramaic was the vernacular of the Jewish people for hundreds of years. While reading the Aramaic preserves the traditional formula, for most of us, reciting the phrase in English better accomplishes the goal of making the declaration understandable.

Burning of Hametz
Friday, March 30, no later than 10 AM:  As soon as your house is as free of hametz as it will get, set the bread from the previous night’s search a safe distance from the house in a receptacle outdoors and light it on fire. Witness the hametz burning, recite the following declaration, then tend to the fire until it burns out:

Kol hamira v’hamia d’ika virshuti, dahazitei udla hazitei, dahamitei udla hamitay, divaritay udla viaritay, libatel vlehavi hefker k’afra d’ara.

May all leaven in my possession, whether I have seen it or not, whether I have removed it or not, whether I have burnt it or not, be regarded as non-existent and considered as mere dust of the earth.

Selling of Hamatz Passover Fund
For information and a form to empower Rabbi Weiner as your agent for selling of your hamet, download the March issue of KOL K.I. and turning to page 8. You can download the March bulletin by clicking here.

By custom, firstborn Jews fast on the day before Pesach, with the understanding that only circumstances of birth prevented us from death the eve of the first Pesach in Egypt. Attending a siyum, a celebration of the completion of a unit of Torah study, overrides the commandment to fast. Knesset Israel will host a morning service and siyum over the 5th century collection of midrash, Tanhuma Shemot, in the chapel on

Friday, March 30, at 7:30 a.m., followed by a light breakfast. This year, the study has been a group project of the regulars of the Saturday evening minyan.

Even the Book of Exodus records households sharing the festive seder meal. If you have extra seats available at your seder and are able to perform the mitzvah of hosting an additional guest or two (or more), please be in touch with Diana in the synagogue office. Furthermore if you are in search of a home in which to enjoy a seder (first or second night), please be in touch with Diana.

Pesach Rituals

  • Turn in Hametz sale form to the K.I. office by Wednesday, March 28
  • Search for Hametz on Thursday, March 29, after nightfall
  • Hametz burnt before 10:00 a.m. on Friday, March 30
  • Friday, March 30 – light candles no later than 6:59 p.m.
  • Saturday, March 31 – light candles no earlier than 7:59 p.m.
  • Sunday, April 1 – havdala no earlier than 8:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, April 5 – light candles no later than 7:06 p.m.
  • Friday, April 6 – light candles no earlier than 7:07 p.m.
  • Saturday, April 7 – havdala no earlier than 8:07 p.m.
  • Saturday, April 7 Hametz consumed no earlier than 9:07 p.m.

Passover Services — March 30 to April 7

Friday, March 30 – Eve of Passover / First Seder
Shaharit and Siyum for First-born: Chapel – 7:30 AM
Festival Maariv: Sanctuary – 6 PM
Jewish Federation of the Berkshires Seder: K.I. Social Hall – 6:30 PM

Saturday, March 31– First Day of Passover / Second Seder
Festival Shaharit – 9:30 PM
No Hebrew School
No evening service at K.I.

Saturday, April 1 – Second Day of Passover
Festival Shaharit – 9:30 AM
Festival Minha only – 7:00 PM

Tuesday, April 3 – Fourth Day of Passover
Minha/Maariv – 7:00 PM

Friday, April 6 – Seventh Day of Passover
Festival Shaharit – 9:30 AM
Festival Minha/Maariv – 5:45 PM

Saturday, April 7 – Eighth Day of Passover
Festival Shaharit – 9:30 AM
Yizkor (approximate time) – 10:30 AM
Typical Hebrew School Day – 8:40-Noon

For more information on Passover observances and seder practices from other times and cultures, download the March issue of KOL K.I. here.