Early Wednesday morning, Janice and Steve Liederman began their trip to west Florida to celebrate the first night of Jewish Passover with their son and 4-year-old granddaughter.
"The holiday has always been very important to us," said the South Forsyth resident. "I think Passover is a family holiday, more than any other holiday."
Liederman said she typically hosts the holiday at her home, but is spending it this year with her daughter-in-law’s family.
"I’m bringing down the roast brisket. That’s something that I’ve been making for years. My family doesn’t have a holiday without it."
The Liedermans are just one of many local Jewish families this week celebrating Passover, which honors their ancestors’ exodus from slavery in Egypt, according to the Torah, or Jewish holy book.
For Passover, Jewish families have Seder dinners, where they read the story of their ancestors’ slavery and liberation in a book called the Haggadah.
Traditional foods, each of which symbolizes the Hebrews’ plight, also are eaten. A Seder is held the first two nights of Passover, marking the beginning of an eight-day period when only unleavened bread can be eaten.
The bread, called matzo, represents what was eaten during the Jewish exodus from Egypt, when there was no time to properly bake bread, according to the Torah.
The first Seder was held Wednesday, the second began Thursday at sundown. While area temples will hold Seders on Saturday and Sunday nights, many Jewish families in the area will celebrate at home or with family.
According to the Torah, God inflicted 10 plagues, ranging from locusts and frogs to darkness and hail, on the Egyptians. To be spared from these plagues, Jewish families marked their doors with the blood of a lamb so the final plague, the death of a family’s first-born child, would "pass over" their homes.
The story traditionally is read during the Seder, and is told every year so children can "pass it on from generation to generation, letting [future] generations know what the significance is in being born into the Jewish faith and heritage," said South Forsyth resident Barry Tauber.
Tauber, his wife, Debbie, and their two teenage children celebrated the first night of the holiday together at home with some friends.
"It’s a way of gathering an entire family to reflect on our heritage, our culture and our traditions," he said. "The nuclear family is very important in our lives."