Friday night the Chabad of Prescott gathered to celebrate a Passover Seder as Jews all over the world have done for over three thousand years. The eight day Festival of Passover (Erev Pesach), steeped in Biblical tradition, began with a candle lighting at dusk on Friday and will continue from April 19th thru April 26h. Rabbi Elie Filler, of the Chabad of Prescott, explained that Passover is one of the most ancient holidays in the Jewish calendar which serves to commemorate the liberation of the Jewish people from servitude in Egypt.
According to the Bible's narrative in Exodus, ten plagues were visited upon the Egyptians before their Pharaoh would release the Jewish people from bondage. The tenth and last plague was the death of the Egyptian firstborn. According to tradition, the Jews marked their doorposts with the blood of a lamb so the spirit of the Lord would know to pass over their homes. When Pharaoh finally allowed the Jews to leave, they were in such a hurry they could not wait for the dough of their bread to rise. Hence, the tradition of eating matzah, an unleavened bread, during Passover.
The local Chabad of Prescott is an orthodox Hasidic congregation founded by Rabbi Filler in 2014. It is one of 20 Chabad centers across the state affiliated with the Chabad of Arizona. Chabad, also known as Chabad-Lubavitch, is an orthodox Hasidic movement tracing its roots to Eastern Europe of the mid 18th century. Considered ultra orthodox, with a primary mission of outreach and building community with fellow Jews, the Chabad of Prescott has also established itself as an important local community of faith. Shortly after arriving in Prescott, Rabbi Filler began what has become the tradition of a Menorah lighting on the Court House square during Chanukah. The Chabad’s Passover Seder includes Jews of all backgrounds along with non Jewish guests.
In keeping with an orthodox Passover Seder, the emphasis was on tradition in both ceremony and food. The three most important items of a Passover Seder include matzah (unleavened bread, bitter herbs (the suffering of servitude) and the Biblical story of the exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt. About 50 people attended the Chabad seder and joined in the readings, prayers, singing, and traditional foods.
The Chabad of Prescott is entirely self funded from support within the local community. In 2016, a small loan allowed them to buy their current building at 345 N. Washington Avenue, in Prescott. They are now in the midst of a building campaign to pay down that loan. Those interested in knowing more about the Chabad of Prescott and their mission in the Prescott community can reach Rabbi Filler at 928.362.8924.