Technology aids Passover traditions
And, if you're unfamiliar with what is served at a Seder meal or the text to be recited, well, there's an app for that, too.
Passover, which begins at sundown tonight and continues for the next seven days, celebrates the Jewish people's release from slavery in Egypt more than 3,000 years ago. God sent Moses to tell Pharaoh to free the enslaved Hebrews and when he refused, 10 plagues were visited on Egypt. The last killed the firstborn children of Egyptians, but spared the children of Israel by "passing over" homes that Jews had marked with the blood of a spring lamb, leading to the Exodus.
Today, technology and Passover traditions traced back to those ancient times easily work together because of smart phones, iPads, other notebooks and the Internet
Rabbi Levi Krinsky of Chabad Lubavitch of New Hampshire in Manchester said while the the rituals of Passover and the traditions remain the same, it is the delivery that has become high-tech.
"The more things change, the more they stay the same," said Rabbi Krinsky, who has his prayer book readily available on his smart phone, although he uses it only six days a week because many Jews refrain from using technology on the Sabbath.
He views smart phones as devices to be used for a godly purpose and in service to God.
Krinsky embraces the new technology because, he said, the history of the Jewish people and the religion's birth after the Exodus from Egypt are widely available because people have smart phones in their pockets and instant access to the information.
So while technology has changed the way people live their lives, Passover remains traditional, particularly the Seder, a meal that includes six symbolic foods arranged on a Seder plate. Each item represents part of the Exodus: bitter herbs for the harshness of slavery; charoset, a relish made from nuts, apples, cinnamon and wine, representing mortar used by Jewish slaves; a vegetable dipped in salt water, representing the slaves' tears, and lamb or chicken and a hard-boiled egg, symbolic of sacrifices offered at the temple in Jerusalem.
During Passover, Jews also are not allowed to eat leavened bread because when they made their hasty exit from Egypt, there was no time for the bread to rise.
One Melcher Media app called Haggadah, for the text recited at the Seder on the first two nights of Passover, costs $4.99 and features everything from a guide to the Jewish ritual to modern recipes to songs and games for kids.
Many other apps are free or charge $1.99 to download and can be found by doing a search for Passover apps.