Bread to ash, Passover begins

April 18, 2011

By Odette Yousef

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(WBEZ/ Shawn Allee)
Burning ceremonies were in Chicago, Skokie, and Buffalo Grove.

Sundown today marks the beginning of the Jewish Passover holiday, and this morning, observant Jewish families had a deadline to meet.

By noon, they had to get rid of every last bread crumb in their home.

Many Jews did that together... at organized outdoor fires, where they threw bread into the flames, said prayers, and shared time together.

WBEZ’s Odette Yousef went to one of those bread burnings, which was held in the parking lot of the new site of the Ida Crown Jewish Academy in Skokie.
Most families began cleaning their homes from leavened products weeks ago.
Kenny Landsman volunteered to control and tend to the fire.
The Passover holiday lasts eight days.
Participants also burned sacred palm fronds, saved from the Sukkot holiday.
After tossing bread into the flames, participants say a short prayer.